A Romantic Rendezvous

Celebrate love with a Caribbean cruise

Whether you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary or simply looking for a getaway with your significant other, a seemingly always popular option is a romantic cruise.

Next year, there is an opportunity to enjoy the luxuries of an ocean-going vacation while joining a potentially record-setting crowd to reaffirm your love with your partner. In February 2020, international premium cruise line Princess Cruises hopes to set a world record, hosting the largest renewal of vows ceremony at sea over Valentine’s Day.

Gavin MacLeod, who portrayed the endearing “Captain Stubing” in “The Love Boat,” and Jill Whelan, his television daughter “Vicki,” will officiate and host the ceremony onboard Regal Princess. Setting sail Feb. 9, 2020, the cruise will begin in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with ports including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Princess Cays, Bahamas.

“Come aboard with me as we’re searching for couples to renew their vows and set a world record for the largest vow renewal at sea,” MacLeod said. “I’m honored to be officiating this ceremony and can’t think of a better way to commemorate a couple’s love than by reaffirming their commitment to one another onboard the ‘Love Boat’ over Valentine’s Day.”

Contact your travel advisor and find more information at princess.com. (Family Features)

Photo caption: Gavin MacLeod and Jill Whelan

SOURCE:
Princess Cruises

How to Plan for Traveling with Kids

Families that travel with kids typically know tablets and other gadgets and activities can make the journey easier, and vacation rentals can make the stay more relaxing and affordable.

These tips from the experts at Vrbo can help make it easier to hit the road with kids, whether it’s exploring exciting new places, visiting relatives or relaxing during an annual trip to the beach.

Start packing early. Begin a week or two before the trip by helping kids write a list of what to take. It can help build excitement and avoid last-minute fusses over how many toys and favorite pajamas go in the suitcase. If there’s a long journey ahead, consider temporarily lifting limits on tablet screen time and bring along a couple travel surprises like coloring books.

Don’t overpack. Since many vacation rentals come with washers and dryers there’s no need to pack two outfits per day per child plus backups in case of spills. If the place your group is staying has a laundry room, pack enough clothing for half the trip then throw a load in the wash after a few days. Pack some detergent pods in a plastic bag in case it’s not provided.

Pack snacks. Travel often messes with mealtimes, but you can keep hunger (and the crankiness that comes with it) at bay with portable snacks. Pack a selection of treats to tide over hungry bellies until you’re able to stop for a complete meal. Include a few items typically reserved for special occasions so you have the added benefit of excitement to distract from an unfamiliar eating schedule.

Bring favorite toys. A sentimental and familiar item from home can help a child feel more secure in new surroundings. In fact, a survey from Vrbo revealed just how popular teddy travel is, with more than half of those surveyed (55%) citing stuffed animals as the most important thing their child brings on vacation.

However, 69% of those surveyed said their child has left a toy or stuffed animal behind while away from home. In the event a toy does get left behind, look into resources like Vrbo’s Teddy Bear Service. Any traveler staying in one of the company’s vacation rental homes can call 1-774-VRBOTDY or email TeddyBearHotline@vrbo.com to report a lost teddy bear or other item of sentimental value, and the company will help track it down and expedite its return home.

Plan for nap time. Whether you’re racing to put miles behind you or scurrying to catch a connecting flight, it’s easy to get off track and miss nap time completely. If you’re likely to miss a nap, try to at least plan for some quiet time to let kids rest and rejuvenate. Also remember that travel can be tiring for kids who have outgrown naps on a regular basis and encourage them to grab some shut-eye before signs of exhaustion emerge.

Find more traveling tips and information at vrbo.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Vrbo

Save Money on Summer Road Trips

If financial constraints are keeping you from exploring the world, it may be time to reassess your approach to travel. From road trips across the country to jaunts across your state, there are plenty of ways to curb costs, so your biggest challenge is finding more days away from the office, not replenishing your bank account.

Make reservations in advance. Shopping early for lodging is one way to save. Give yourself plenty of time to watch deals so you can grab the best one, and if it’s possible, be flexible with the travel dates. Shifting your trip by even a day can sometimes make a difference in the rates.

Utilize rewards programs. Shopper loyalty programs make it easy to save money on essential purchases. Not only can you access exclusive card-holder discounts, but you can accumulate rewards points or even earn cash back. For example, with the Shell | Fuel Rewards® credit cards, you can save 10 cents per gallon (up to 20 gallons) every time you fill up at Shell, in addition to earning rebates on other qualifying purchases. See store for details or learn more at shell.us/roadtrip .

Share the journey. If your travel party consists of multiple families, consolidate into as few vehicles as you can. This helps minimize costs on everything from gas to per-vehicle admission fees at destinations like national parks.

Pack snacks. Next to lodging, food is the biggest expense you’re likely to encounter on a road trip. Consider packing snacks for the road so you can save money while managing your hunger. Alternatively, an option like the Shell | Fuel Rewards Mastercard lets you earn rebates on qualifying purchases made with the card.

Be conscious of your gas mileage. You may not have much of a choice when it comes to which vehicle you’ll drive, but paying more attention to your driving habits can stretch your gas tank a little further. Be sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure. If your vehicle is a gas guzzler, consider renting a more efficient vehicle for the trip. Weigh the additional cost of the rental versus what you may spend in fuel for your personal car before making a decision.

Research attractions. Admission fees to various attractions can really add up, but a little pre-planning can help you capitalize on discount days and other special deals. If your plans are flexible, you can schedule your trip around those offers to capture the same experiences at a significantly lower price tag.

Travel doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Managing your trips with practical tips like these may even free up enough funds so you can fit in an extra adventure or two. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Shell

Rome’s Bettoja Hotels Debuts New Website

New rich in content website blends tradition and innovation in a single click

One of Italy’s most renowned family-owned hospitality groups, Bettoja Hotels announces the launch of its new website – www.bettojahotels.it. The new website enhances the user experience with ease of navigation, personalization and customization based on guest’s travel preferences. The new website utilizes Travelclick, a cutting-edge platform specializing in the distribution of tourist services whose GDS was initially developed for the distribution of airline tickets and then expanded to include hotel services.

Under the chairmanship of Maurizio Bettoja, President of Bettoja Hotels, the three monumental hotels, Hotel MediterraneoHotel Massimo D’Azeglio and Hotel Atlantico, continue the hospitality group’s extensive redesign. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to progress its three iconic hotels in Rome to a new chapter in the family’s hospitality tradition which began 140 years ago, Bettoja Hotels continues to make instrumental strides in enhancing the hotel group’s mission as it evolves into the future. Spanning five generations, there are 495 rooms among the three hotels, and the Bettoja family has renewed their commitment to their guests and the hospitality industry by beginning a 20 million-Euro renovation across all hotels. The renovation began in the summer of 2018 and will continue over the next several years.

To facilitate navigation, each of the three hotels has its own individual page where guests can choose among a variety of rooms which cater to different needs and preferences. The new website also includes personalized sections such as ‘Dive into Art’, ‘Rome on Foot’ and ‘Your Experience in Rome’ to help each traveler plan their Roman holiday.

For all foodies, a separate section is dedicated to the various restaurants and bars located throughout the three hotels. The options range from the historic Ristorante Massimo D’Azeglio which was the first to open in 1875 to the 1930’s Art Deco Bar 21 whose counter was designed by the architect Mario Loreti to the scenic La Terrazza on the rooftop of Hotel Mediterraneo offering breathtaking views of the city.

For those who wish to book a room for a private event or a business conference, there is a diverse array of options. Whether you favor aesthetics or functionality, Bettoja Hotels has the perfect space for you. Choose between the elegant and beautifully preserved period interiors as found in the Sala delle Polene, Sala Caminetto, and Sala delle Mappe, or the more modern meeting rooms and spaces equipped with Laser HD projectors, electric screens, Bose audio systems, fiber optic Wi-Fi 10 Mbit to host the perfect event.

“The Bettoja family has always believed in hospitality and offers a perfect mix of tradition and innovation in Rome. Last year we began the restyling of our rooms to keep in step with the technology and innovation that dominates the market while preserving the aesthetic that characterize our hotels. The new website and partnership with Travelclick aims to create greater efficiency in customer relations online, as well as having beneficial effects on GDS,” states Maurizio Bettoja, President of Bettoja Hotels.

The extensive renovation began with the Hotel Mediterraneo, the group’s flagship property. The Congress Conference Center has been completely renewed and is now operational and equipped with the most modern technologies and features. It adds to the total meeting space capacity of the three hotels in one of the most strategic meeting centers in Rome. The renovation continues and the new rooms of Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio will be ready for booking after the summer. The Sala San Giorgio, which takes its name from the original 1930’s mosaic installed in the Hotel Mediterraneo was recently enhanced and will be unveiled this summer after a careful and painstaking restoration.

The history of hospitality signed by Bettoja Hotels was born in Rome in 1875 and has never stopped, bringing 140 years of services dedicated to hospitality with an all-Italian reception. After being the first hotel to offer air conditioning in Rome and having passed through the city’s historical highlights, Bettoja Hotels becomes a true “art collection” to be experienced during guests’ stay, whether business or pleasure, complete with the most modern technologies and amenities.

About Bettoja Hotels

Founded in 1875, the Bettoja Hotels is a family-owned hospitality company spanning five generations with a long-standing tradition of hospitality. The hotel group consists of three hotels located in the heart of Rome on Via Cavour – all within walking distance of each other.  Its flagship property, Hotel Mediterraneo was built in 1936 and blends museum-worthy Art Deco design and stylish furnishings with historical touchstones such as maps, prints and marble busts of Roman emperors. Set on Esquiline Hill, the highest of Rome’s seven hills, the ten-story hotel is among the highest buildings in Rome’s center and affords sweeping views of the city from its rooftop bar and terrace suites. The hotel’s spacious 245 rooms vary in décor and all feature graciously high ceilings and modern, new marble bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi and a fitness center are also available to all guests. The hotel’s new meeting rooms can host up to 120 people in theater style. The nearby Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio has 185 rooms with a special focus on history and houses original paintings from the 1860s Risorgimento (unification) period. The artwork focuses on the historical figures who were part of this movement, such as Massimo D’Azeglio, the hotel’s namesake, who was a statesman, painter and writer.  With three modern meeting rooms, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio can host 180 people in theater style. The more intimate Hotel Atlantico is connected to the Hotel Mediterraneo and offers 65 rooms, three meeting rooms with natural light with the capacity to host up to 45 people in theater style. Ristorante Massimo D’Azeglio is located in Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio and is recognized for its ancient wine cellar with more than 1800 bottles including precious labels. The wine cellar’s intimate setting is perfect for wine tastings and private events with the capacity for up to 70 people seated or standing. Hotel Mediterraneo’s Roof Garden Restaurant and Bar is located on the 10th floor and provides an unforgettable city view.  All hotels offer 24-hour concierge service, room service, complimentary Wi-Fi and rates include buffet breakfast, hotel tax and service.  www.bettojahotels.it 

The Most Common Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Traveling is one of the most enriching things you can do for yourself and your family. However, even the most experienced travelers make mistakes, which can cause them to miss out on a memorable experience. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them:

Taking your documents for granted

Never take your travel documents for granted. This is especially true if you are traveling domestically with children in the U.S. USA Today notes that while children under the age of 14 don’t need identification some airlines will require a birth certificate to prove their age. It is best to carry it with you, as you don’t want to get stuck at an airport due to not having the right documentation.

Not bringing equipment that will make your life easier

Always consider if the equipment you are bringing will make your life easier. Are you going to be struggling with a suitcase that is difficult to carry? If so it may be best to invest in a new one. If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler, The Insider discourages you from packing bulky pushchairs as these will make it much harder for you to move around. A good stroller needs to be easy-to-use, robust, and light. The selection of single pram pushchairs on iCandy shows how modern strollers are easy to fold, which makes them very accommodating when using public transport. If you are bringing your car, a compact stroller will also allow for more space in the trunk. It is these simple tips that can make all the difference to whether your travels are stressful or carefree.

Not buying travel insurance

You can never be too careful when you travel and although insurance can be expensive, it’s worth it. La Jolla Mom founder and travel expert Katie Dillion is a stern believer in travel insurance: “One of the biggest mistakes people can make when traveling is to skip travel insurance. This can cause people to travel when they don’t want to, or to lose money on prepaid airfare because they can’t go on their planned trip.” There’s a lot about traveling that is hard to predict. Travel insurance covers your expenses if you have to pay for a new flight because you missed the one you booked.

Not doing your research

One of the most important things you need to research before traveling is the local cuisine, as you might be allergic to some of the staple ingredients locals use. Doing your research also allows you to make note of the appropriate clothes to wear, especially if you’re going to conservative countries with specific dress codes. Research the basic dos and don’ts so you don’t end up packing the wrong clothes or violating the local laws.

Ignoring hotel reviews

Don’t concentrate only on the rooms and amenities of specific a hotel when it comes to choosing your accommodation. Pay attention to the feedback provided by past guests and steer clear of hotels that have a lot of negative feedback. Our ‘Find a Hotel to Fit Your Travel Needs’ article recommends you check if the hotel offers basics like an inclusive breakfast or 24-hour amenities. The last thing you want is to be paying extra because you didn’t research ahead of time.

With the right preparation, all of the above mistakes are easy to avoid. It is just about having the mindset to see potential problems and finding solutions to them.

Ignacia Guest House Offers Stylish Stay in Trendy Colonia Roma

Ignacia Guest House is a fashionable home-away-from-home in the heart of Mexico City with award-winning design

Property debuts new summer cocktail, new suite amenity and chic tote bags designed by famous Mexican illustrator

 

Consistently ranked among the world’s top places to visit, Mexico City is a global capital welcoming more than 12.5 million visitors each year with  its renowned cuisine, vibrant culture, rich history, unique neighborhoods and modern-day travel offerings. A sprawling metropolis bursting with a vibrant personality  blending  old and new, there are over a dozen distinct neighborhoods or “colonias” each with their own character and charm.

An essential part of the city’s cultural and gastronomic life, the adjacent Roma and Condesa neighborhoods are home to Mexico City’s trendy creative class. The area overflows with diverse dining options and alluring nightlife possibilities, as well as varying architectural styles and bold design. A century ago, when La Romita was a wealthy town of grand mansions, no one would have guessed that by the turn of the millennium, it would home to Mexico City’s  hipsters. These days, its neoclassic, beaux arts and art nouveau-style buildings, squares and tree-lined boulevards abound with restaurants, galleries, bars, foodies, artists, eclectic bed and breakfasts and more. In September 2017 an earthquake impacted Roma and Condesa, Mexico City’s most beloved colonias. After, local artists, architects, designers, chefs and residents have worked to restore and revitalize the area, making them more compelling destinations than ever before.

 

With the recent buzz from this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Director, Alfonso Cuaron’s love story to his hometown of Colonia Roma hit center stage in the internationally acclaimed movie, Roma. Located just a few blocks from the house where Roma was filmed, Ignacia Guest House is an exclusive bed and breakfast with five suites blending history, Mexican artisan tradition and contemporary design. Opening its doors in February 2017, the name is derived from the housekeeper who looked after this 1913 casona for over 70 years, Ignacia.

To celebrate the recent two-year anniversary of its opening, Ignacia Guest House collaborated with prominent illustrator Hilda Palafox, known as “Poni” to design the guest house’s commemorative anniversary tote bags. Born and raised in Mexico City, Poni is a world-renowned designer, illustrator and muralist whose creative work includes murals, illustrations, drawings and ceramics. She studied at the National Institute of Fine Arts and has illustrated for magazines, singers and several national and international brands. Passionate about the female form, Poni uses illustrations and ceramic works to create a variety of womanly characters in her own unique style. Despite being commissioned for murals by Amnesty International, her most famous work is a doodle which pays homage to Mexican activist and feminist Elvia Carrillo Puerto which was featured on Google’s search homepage in 2017. These beautiful signature tote bags designed exclusively for Ignacia Guest House by Poni can be purchased for $25USD at the front desk. In other news, Ignacia Guest House now offers luxurious robes for all guests to adorn during their stay and a new summer mezcal cocktail to be enjoyed during their daily complimentary cocktail hour in the garden.

 

Architecture and Design

Ignacia Guest House has been internationally acclaimed for its interior design, architecture and restoration. Led by Fermin Espinosa and Gerardo Salinas of Mexico City-based Factor Eficiencia, with the design firm Estudio de Interiorismo A-G, Ignacia Guest House was developed based on a concept from the design and communications firm, Fuckin’Fitz & Co. The concept reflected the personality and background of Ignacia, from the chromatic color palette and gardens inspired by the forests of Guerrero (Ignacia’s home state) to the privacy of each space. The historic building joins public spaces, including the lobby, reception, library, dining room, and kitchen, directly to the master suite, La Habitación Negra. In a completely new building, the other four suites, La Azul, La Verde, La Rosa and La Amarilla, are arranged one on top of the other on the central patio with individual balconies or terraces. Each has a unique color scheme, and rooms have their own specific ambience that works in harmony with the complex. The interior furniture blends traditional, past and contemporary, including designs by Eileen Grey, Eero Saarinen, Serge Mouille, Sean Dix, and James Tan. The spaces complement each other with examples of contemporary design by A-G, Bo Concept, PECA, and Jonathan Adler. All common spaces boast works from master artisan potter José Cervantes of San Agustín Oapan, Guerrero.

History

Ignacia was born around 1914 in Guerrero and arrived in Mexico City in the late 1920s to work in the estate house. She first helped with the cleaning, then began caring for the children, eventually becoming the head housekeeper until the year 2000, at which time she moved with the family that she worked for so many years to an apartment in the south part of the city. For 70 years, she dedicated her devotion to the house, and became part of it. Her imprint is still alive in the building; as a character of Pita Amor, Ignacia enjoyed the house as her own and in the end, practically it was – she knew every last corner and administered to it with rigorous discipline. She planted two orange trees in the garden that she crossed thousands of times.

Cuisine

The cooks at Ignacia Guest House hit the pantry bright and early to prepare each day’s breakfast selection and source all ingredients at traditional neighborhood markets. They prepare everything—salsas, condiments—from scratch. Artisanal breads, delicious fruits and juices one can only find in Mexico complement cooked-to-order entrees ranging from seasoned eggs, regional charcuteries, tamales and chilaquiles to lesser-discovered tastes guests will remember long after their travel ends. The cooks offer vegetarian and vegan options for all their breakfast dishes and can accommodate guest’s dietary restrictions. Guests can enjoy the complimentary cocktail hour at Ignacia’s garden, under the two orange trees, between 5pm and 7pm daily. Each day, the chef prepares a different cocktail for guests, made with mezcal from Oaxaca, gin, tequila or other liquors. Ignacia’s signature cocktail is made with grapefruit, sparkling water, mezcal and a hint of Ancho Reyes, a liquor made from the ancho chile. The decoration of the glass has a special touch – chefs add worm salt frosting on one side of the glass along with fresh grapefruit. Celebrating the onset of summer, their newest drink is a mango and mezcal cocktail made with mango and pomelo juices, Eureka lemon, mezcal, Ancho Reyes liquor, mint and rosemary syrup, ginger ale and ice.

Sustainability

Ignacia Guest House is committed to preserving our environment. Solar panels produce most of the electrical energy consumed on property, preventing 3.8 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year (the equivalent of planting 85 trees per year). The solar panels reduce fossil fuel consumption up to 60% in bathrooms and the kitchen. The ingredients used to prepare food and beverages (fruits, vegetables, legumes, coffee, eggs, dairy, tortillas, bread) come from small local producers, which guarantees their freshness and quality, as well as fair trade (supporting the local community). In-suite toiletries are provided by Loredana, a Mexican company that specializes in natural, organic products free of parabens, sulfates and EDTA, which are all environmentally friendly and made free of animal cruelty. Water bottles are provided courtesy of Casa del Agua, a Mexican company that triple-filters water using evaporation and condensation, which provides the highest purification standard (100%) in the market. Additionally, water is harmonized with intention, through a process of flow forms, light and, music. Only glass bottles are used, so the property does not contribute to plastic waste. The cleaning products used are sourced from Corpo Citrik, a Mexican company that manufactures all its products with biodegradable citric extracts, without chemicals, abrasives or irritants, Kosher certified and as low foam to promote saving water saving.

One of the biggest trends in travel right now is boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts that feel like a home-away-from-home. Globetrotters are seeking personalized service that go beyond the usual hotel concierge and find that properties with ten rooms or fewer allow them to really slip into local life with total tranquility and ease. With its unique offering of just five suites, Ignacia Guest House’s guests experience a stay in a chic design-led accommodation that is unlike any other. Whether traveling for pleasure or business, Ignacia Guest House is the perfect basecamp to explore the city. All guests receive exceptional individualized attention from the staff, complimentary Wi-Fi, daily breakfast, daily cocktail hour in the garden from 5pm – 7pm and more amenities. Nightly rates for the suites in double occupancy are: Master Suite Negra ($442.10USD), Standard Suites Amarilla, Verde and Azul ($387.94USD) and Junior Suite Rosa ($318.91USD). For more information, visit www.ignacia.mx or email hola@ignacia.mx.

About Ignacia Guest House

Located in the vibrant Colonia Roma neighborhood, Ignacia Guest House is an exclusive bed and breakfast with just five suites, uniting Mexican artisan tradition, history and contemporary design. The restoration of this 1913 mansion celebrates the personality of Ignacia, the mansion’s housekeeper for more than 70 years. In partnership with the interior design studio A – G, Factor Eficiencia finished restoration of Ignacia Guest House in February 2017. The historic building includes an entrance hall, reception, library, dining room, kitchen and the Black Guest Room (master suite), all along with a common concept of nude color used in the interiors. In a completely new building, the rest of the guest rooms are vertically arranged around a central patio and garden: Blue, Green, Pink and Yellow. With terraces and a harmonious chromatic palette, each guest room creates environments in balance with the entire complex. The cooks at Ignacia Guest House hit the pantry bright and early to prepare each day’s selection and source all ingredients at traditional neighborhood markets and prepare everything—salsas, condiments, everything—from scratch. www.ignacia.mx.

Make Sense of Your Travel Preferences

Seasoned travelers know that no two trips are exactly the same, even when revisiting the same location. The weather changes, your personal life and perspective evolve and any combination of factors makes each experience unique. However, if you’re like most travelers, your preferences guide your journeys no matter how far you venture from home.

According to a survey of American travelers from vacation rental app and website Vrbo, people are united by a common desire to travel with friends and family. In fact, 52% of respondents said a family vacation is their reason for travel in 2019, and more people said they will travel with a group of four or more this year than last year. That’s where the generational similarities end, however.

Determining where to go and what you’ll do depends quite a bit on your age. Your stage of life significantly impacts the places you dream about visiting, the reasons you travel and what you look for when you get there, according to the survey.

What to look for in a destination

Your definition of a dream vacation is likely to shift along with variables like your life stage, income and available free time. Limitations in any of those areas may make a certain destination a far-off dream during one stage of life but an attainable retreat during another.

The disparity between dream and reality signals that barriers of time and money are the deciding factors for whether Americans will take that dream vacation. This holds true for every age group, although millennials (37%) are more likely to go into debt for travel than Generation Xers (27%) and baby boomers (15%).

Reasons for traveling

Relaxation is a primary reason for traveling, which can help you disconnect from the stress of daily life and reconnect with family and friends. Whether it’s curiosity or a much-anticipated trip to celebrate a special occasion with a family member, many trips have a specific purpose. Understanding why you want to travel can make it much easier to plan.

Although younger travelers are most likely to make exploration a priority on their journeys, the Vrbo survey revealed that travel isn’t always about adventure, as 20% of travelers ages 35-54 are likely to travel for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. In addition, only 6% of baby boomers said they would travel for a hobby or activity like skiing, surfing or hiking, compared with 23% of millennial respondents.

Amenities that matter

The amenities you can access during your getaway may vary greatly depending on where you go and the type of trip you plan. From electronics and fully stocked kitchens to swimming pools and pet-friendly features, plenty of options are available to help ensure your perfect vacation lodging includes all the amenities you require.

If you’re like most travelers, keeping connected is a major requirement. In fact, 75% of respondents listed access to the internet via WiFi as an important amenity when traveling, outranking traditional must-haves like TV and air-conditioning, according to the survey.

Amenities like WiFi aside, accommodation preferences reflect the starkest generational differences among American travelers. Millennials (71%) are most likely to consider unique lodging options such as boats or treehouses. They also represent the age group most likely to take into account design and architecture when choosing a place to stay. Generation Xers voiced the strongest preference for having ample space for everyone in the party. For baby boomers, more than other age groups, noise level is important when selecting lodging.

Find getaway accommodations perfect for every stage of life at vrbo.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Vrbo

Eat Like a Local Mexico City Launches Four New Food Tours

Food crawl navigates travelers through the city’s hidden neighborhoods

Mexico City is perhaps most widely known in the culinary world for its low-key yet delicious street food, with staples such as tacos al pastor, pozole, tamales and quesadillas. Travelers don’t need to shell out for an eight-course tasting menu when some of the city’s best cuisine can be enjoyed on-the-go while exploring the city’s array of eclectic neighborhoods. To avoid tourist traps, spend more time eating authentic cuisine and maximize your time visiting one of the world’s largest cities, food tours continue to be the popular choice for travelers to navigate Mexico City’s food culture with its varied regional cuisine and so much more.

For an insider’s view of Mexico City’s food scene, look no further than Eat Like a Local Mexico City. Born and raised in Mexico City, founder Rocio Vazquez Landeta takes travelers through the streets of this vibrant city to taste, explore and connect with Mexico City’s food scene, markets, restaurants and people. Discovering all the hidden gastronomic gems that only locals know, Eat Like a Local Mexico City’s food journeys showcase the cutting-edge restaurants along with secret food stalls and street food that offer the most authentic Mexican cuisine. The travel company now offers four new diverse food tours and experiences detailed below.

The Vegan Market & Roma Norte Adventure is a curated tour featuring local Mexican vegan dishes and highlights a mix of vegan restaurants in Roma Norte. Visit hip coffee shops and authentic street food delicacies at the flower market, the largest wholesale flower market in the city where travelers can enjoy grilled corn, squash blossom cheese-free quesadillas and the most complete fruit tasting with more than 12 local varieties. The tour also includes non-vegan restaurants with outstanding vegan dishes, including one of Enrique Olvera’s restaurants (Pujol owner and head chef). The vegan food tour is a dynamic collaboration with Eat Like a Local’s founder and Astrid Ceballos, a vegan chef who manages Palacio de Hierro’s healthy food. Astrid Ceballos guides the vegan tour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when she is not cooking and teaching at her raw vegan cooking school. The group savors craft coffee, tamales, green mole mixiotes, al pastor tacos made with oyster mushrooms, grilled corn, fruit, high end tacos, smoothies, quesadillas, delicious desserts and a mezcal cocktail. The vegan tour is offered from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 2:30 ($110USD per person) in the flower market and Roma Norte.

The Roma Norte at Night: Mezcal & Pulque is a relaxed culinary safari that explores the trendy neighborhood of Roma Norte. The first stop highlights good street corn covered in mayo, lime, cheese and chili powder. Delicious tortas are found at a hidden stall that serves a famous soup called birria and adventurous foodies can try suadero – brisket cooked in lard for several hours and sprinted with cilantro and onion, a Mexico City classic. The group visits one of Eat Like a Local’s favorite stalls serving tacos for more than 60 years and can try campechano, pork rinds and steak, wrapped in a warm freshly made tortilla. Covering most modern aspects of Mexico City gastronomy, the tour visits a fusion taco place where Argentinian and Mexican food combine to create one delicious taco of caramelized onions, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, steak and dried chilis. Taste the street quesadilla next and try squash blossom, chicken, potatoes and chorizo or mushrooms with or without cheese because Mexico City is the only city where quesadillas are made without cheese. End the food tour with a warm churro and this is where the liquor part of the tour begins. Pulque is a fermented drink made with agave juice often mixed with fruits, caramel or even cookies. Stop by a traditional pulque place and learn about this beverage’s history while tasting 3 different flavors of pulque. End the tour at a trendy mezcal and wine shop where the group can try 4 different kinds of mezcal, Mexican wine or craft beer. The tour runs from Tuesday to Saturday 19:00 – 22:30 ($110USD per person including unlimited food, 4 mezcals and 3 pulques).

The Food Tour with Kids starts in the beautiful Condesa neighborhood with coffee for the parents and hot chocolate for the kids. This foodie adventure takes parents and kids to the flower market where kids can taste delicious tacos, cheese quesadillas, candy, corn, ice cream and jicaletas, a Mexican treat made with jicama sprinkled with flavored sugar. Parents can relax while Eat Like a Local’s expert guides take care of the kids, creating challenges and adventures to keep them interested. The guides will teach the kids how to subway surf, interesting and cool facts about Mexico´s history, let them play with corn dough and the kids will be rewarded with a tiny piñata and candy at the end of the tour. Kids will join the Brave and Adventurous Kids Travelers Club with a commemorative pin as a token of finishing the tour. The tour ends in Condesa with fun gummy bears and lime popsicles and a stop at a cool playground where the parents can have a refreshing cocktail at a bar nearby. The tour runs every day from 10:00 t0 14:00 ($110USD per person).

The Food Tour for Bachelors and Bachelorettes is a special tour created specifically for groups the day after bachelor and bachelorette parties.  Starting at 11:30am, the tour begins with coffee and coconut water, as the group visits several street food stalls. Riding the subway to the flower market, enjoy beer, carnitas, candy, fruit and other Mexican delicacies at the market. The group then participates in a pulque tasting  at a 100-year-old pulquería. Walking around Roma Norte, experience an alcohol-based ice-cream shop tasting mezcal and passion fruit or margarita sorbet and other great mezcals, Mexican wine or craft beer. This special tour is available upon request ($110USD per person; the organizer is free).

Mexico City native and founder Rocio Vazquez Landeta shares the city that she grew up in and is committed to supporting the community in her city.  Eat Like a Local Mexico City is the only Mexican-founded food tour agency that actively promotes economic growth and creates opportunities for families within the traditional markets. All of Eat Like a Local’s food tours sponsors English lessons for children at Tacubaya neighborhood. Eat Like a Local developed the  80iq program, a complete social program dedicated to supporting local children. In partnership with Traso AC, children are given weekly boxing lessons, citizenship workshops and a psychology companion. The parents receive parenting and nutritional counseling. 80iq provides weekly English lessons and monthly inspiration workshops where the children will meet amazing people and learn about different careers. Eat Like a Local guests can meet the children every Friday at 5:00, 80iq and Traso team, organize book readings where guests can read to the children and parents and then ask them questions about the book. The children of  La Merced Market will join this program, benefiting more than 30 children. 80iq will also provide financial education for the mothers, where they will learn about credit, how to create a savings account and a monthly budget and developing strategies to achieving financial independence.

About Eat Like a Local Mexico City

The founder and mastermind behind Eat Like a Local Mexico City, Rocio Vazquez Landeta was born and raised in Mexico City. For several years, she worked in public relations and marketing for luxury brands such as Mont Blanc and Mercedes Benz. Rocio decided to create Eat Like a Local Mexico City three years ago after a horrible tour in Turkey. A world traveler with more than 23 countries and 65 cities under her belt, Rocio is a sustainable tourism researcher, an avid reader, a food expert and entrepreneur. She left her job as Social Media Director at DDB Group managing international brands such as McDonalds, Kellogg’s, Danone and Hasbro, to follow her passion for her city and its people to create a tourism product that promotes cultural exchange and economic growth. Eat Like a Local Mexico City has an all-women team with people stemming from different backgrounds including sociologists, food stylists, art historians and textile designers. As a female-owned and operated company, Eat Like a Local Mexico City’s mission is to empower other women and create job opportunities that allow women in the local community to take care of their children and explore economic opportunities. www.eatlikealocal.com.mx.

Duma Explorer Offers New Off-The-Beaten-Path Journey

5% of Tanzania Legends bookings to help support Mozambique cyclone relief efforts

Photography courtesy of Duman Explorer.

Tanzania is known for its many superlatives and is home to some of Africa’s top destinations including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Kilimanjaro National Park. In addition to these world-famous parks, there are many other destinations that a first-time visitor misses. Since many travelers choose to visit more than once, Duma Explorer has created a new off-the-beaten-path itinerary called Tanzania Legends tailored to those who value new experiences combined with the legendary Serengeti National Park – perhaps the greatest wildlife park Africa has to offer. Duma Explorer is donating 5% of all bookings of the Tanzania Legends tour to help support the Mozambique cyclone relief efforts.

As part of this new itinerary, travelers visit Hatari Lodge, a historical property with an interesting Hollywood pedigree near Arusha National Park. View resident wildlife at close range with Tanzania’s highest peaks in the background. During the stay at Hatari, enjoy game drives through Mount Meru’s old growth forest and around the flamingo-filled Momella Lakes. A gentle hike through Meru’s rainforest with a picnic lunch at Majo Waterfall is a half day activity for those wanting to enjoy time outside the vehicle.

Continue on to West Kilimanjaro to learn from the Maasai and enjoy the remote Kilimanjaro ecosystem. Drive through Maasailand and enjoy a picnic at 3,600 meters before arriving at Shu’mata Camp. Situated on a hilltop beneath Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak, Shu’mata offers breathtaking views of Maasailand below and Mount Kilimanjaro above. Designed to inspire conservation, Shu’mata treads lightly on this fragile ecosystem and works hand in hand with the Maasai to restore harmony between migrating herds and local communities. While at Shu’mata, enjoy walking safaris, Maasai cultural experiences and game drives in the Kilimanjaro/Amboseli ecosystem.

The 13-day itinerary then takes travelers to Serengeti National Park, the world’s most iconic safari park, flying over the Ngorongoro Highlands and arriving in Central Serengeti in the early afternoon. Spend the next two days viewing wildlife around the Seronera River Valley, Retina Hippo Pool and various rock outcrops in the area. Your base for the next two nights is Kiota Camp, an intimate tented camp with breathtaking views located just twenty minutes from the Seronera River Valley.

Fly from Central Serengeti to Ndutu or Northern Serengeti and spend the next two days at Chaka Camp, a mobile tented camp designed to be lightweight enough to move seasonally. Chaka Camp follows the wildebeest migration, covering hundreds of kilometers as it moves seasonally around the Serengeti. In the Northern Serengeti, the migration crosses back and forth across the Mara River as the herds search for fresh grass. Witness a spectacular river crossing in the north and perhaps even a crocodile taking down an unlucky individual. In Ndutu, the herds gather in groups of several thousand as visitors eagerly await calving season, when the wildebeest give birth to up to 8,000 babies each day.

This epic journey ends with an optional beach excursion on Tanzania’s seldom-visited coast. Spend four nights luxuriating on a stretch of untouched beach south of Pangani on the Swahili Coast. Take a boat trip to Maziwe Marine Park to explore the nearby reefs and enjoy a picnic on the island of sand. Explore the mangrove forest and river estuary behind the hotel and finish with a sundowner overlooking the vast salt-plains.

Rates for the 13-day journey start at $7450USD per person based on double occupancy during peak season (December 21 – February 29; June 16 – October 31) and $6345USD off-season (March 1 – June 15; November 1 – December 20). Price includes all meals, accommodations, park fees, activities as indicated and internal flights. International flights are not included. Duma Explorer will allocate 5% of all bookings of the new Tanzania Legends tour booked by December 31, 2019 will go towards the Mozambique cyclone relief efforts. For reservations, visit info@dumaexplorer.com or www.dumaexplorer.com.

For travelers looking for a specific type of itinerary, Duma Explorer can put together experiences for almost every type of traveler. From the adventurist to multi-generational families, here are just a few.

Extreme Adventures

Duma Explorer started as a Kilimanjaro trekking company back in 2004 and now runs approximately 30 Kilimanjaro climbs per year. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the largest free-standing mountain in the world. At 19,341 feet above sea level, a trek to Kilimanjaro’s summit is a multi-day affair and not for the faint of heart. Though not a technical climb, most trekkers experience varying levels of altitude sickness and the summit success rate is approximately 70%. Duma Explorer recommends 7, 8 or 9 day climbs to increase chances of summit success. Other climbing adventures in Tanzania include Mount Meru, Oldonyo Lengai, and Ngorongoro Highlands trekking.

Families

Safaris are a wonderful experience for families. The magic of seeing wildlife in its natural environment is an experience that can be enjoyed over and over again by adults and children alike. Every safari is unique, and many travelers return as families for repeat trips. Duma Explorer recommends safaris for children ages 7 and older and most lodges and camps offer a 50% discount for children ages 12 and under. Safaris are also a great way for families to bond and are the ideal trip for multi-generational families.

Honeymooners

Often thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, safaris are perfect for honeymooners looking for a truly memorable experience. There are many small boutique camps and hotels that provide an intimate, romantic getaway for honeymooners. Add-on romantic experiences include a Serengeti balloon safari, private dinners under the African stars, bush breakfasts, and sundowners in the wild. Chaka Camps operates three boutique luxury lodges that are a wonderful choice for honeymooners.

Eco-Conscious

A safari is a perfect adventure for travelers interested in the environment. It is a chance to witness wildlife in its natural environment, uninhibited by the development of humans. The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the only remaining ecosystems in the world large enough to support the wildlife populations in it, making it a perfect destination for eco-conscious travelers. Staying at properties within the national parks gives an inside look at what it is like to operate ‘off-the-grid’. Chaka Camps operate on solar, collect rainwater, recycle all plastic and steel and more.

About Duma Explorer

Founded in 2004, Duma Explorer is an adventure travel company offering safari and trekking packages to beautiful Tanzania. With decades of Tanzania tourism experience, Duma Explorer prides themselves on their long-standing reputation for providing high quality travel experiences to their guests. As one of Tanzania’s only Travelife-certified tour operators and a founding partner of Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, Duma Explorer continually demonstrates their commitment to social, economic and environmental sustainability. www.dumaexplorer.com.

Dreaming of Spring with the March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

We’re thrilled to welcome you to our multi-award winning March – April 2019 edition where we are Dreaming of Spring.

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The March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine