What is a Wellness Vacation


Wellness Vacations come in many forms. It just depends on what you as an individual are looking for.  Some people may look at a Spa with several Spa Treatments and time at the beach as a wellness vacation.  others might want to incorporate yoga, spa and exercise programs.  Its definitely an individual preference.

There are many companies selling Wellness Vacations, so I did some checking into what they are saying are “Must Haves” for a wellness vacation.

Massages:  32 % of people polled in a survey said that Massages were their number one must have. In fact they wanted SEVERAL massages.  And I have to agree, there is nothing better than a good massage.

Culinary – 28% of people surveyed  said that a Must Have was great cuisine. They wanted healthy food, vegan food, nutrition advice, cooking classes and fine dining. And again I have to agree, I love my food!

Physical Activities: 24% of the people surveyed wanted exercise classes, walks, water activities, hiking, access to a physical trainer and yoga.

Nature:  23% wanted a beautiful location, fresh air, great views, beach, warm weather and hot springs.
Rest and Relaxation:  18% responded that they want downtime. They want to decompress and de-stree with total time out.

Peace and Quiet:  12% required a relaxed atmosphere, serenity, peaceful enviroment and quiet time away from everything.

So, whats on your “Must Have” list if you were going on a Wellness Vacation?  I know myself I would pretty much go with exactly what is listed and mostly in that order.  I would only add one thing, and that would be my best girlfriends to have some laughter as well!

From a really great website www.traveltowellness.com I have included this article.


When you’re looking to find a spa, finding the right spa really depends on what YOU are looking for and what YOU will feel comfortable and happy with.
Ask yourself these questions:

What is my most important objective in planning a spa or wellness holiday?
a) pampering b)bonding c)stress management d) kick start a healthier lifestyle
What kind of accommodations am I looking for?
a) an intimate country inn b) a city hotel c) a family resort d) a luxury golf resort

• What kind of food do I want?
a) international gourmet b) basic and nutritious c) lighter spa cuisine d) vegetarian

In addition to spa treatments what do I want to do during the day?
a) lounge by the pool b) physical and recreational activities c) take part in educational programs d) shopping or sightseeing

• How do I want to spend the evenings?
a) read and relax b) take part in educational workshops c) enjoy live in-house entertainment d) take in local theatre/nightclubs
• If I’m travelling with a partner, a family member, friends, what are their main interests?
a) relaxation and renewal b) recreational facilities and physical activities c) off-site shopping or sightseeing d) socializing and nightlife
• How much do I want to spend?
Budget will determine how far you travel from home, how long you stay and the type of accommodations you choose. Remember even if you can’t afford to stay at a resort spa, you can stay at a nearby hotel that is less expensive, then book spa facilities as a day guest.

The answers to your questions will help you determine your needs and objectives, and help you find a spa that’s right for you. Do keep in mind, however, that due to the continuing popularity of spas and wellness programs, facilities can book up quickly, so reserve treatments at the same time as you make a hotel booking. Other questions to keep in mind:

What is there to do other than spa?
• Is the restaurant licensed? Or, is it BYOB and if yes, is there a corkage fee for opening wine with dinner?
• What else should I bring?
• Do the rooms have TVs and telephones?
• What about Internet access?
• What else is there to do in the immediate area?
• How far is the inn/resort/hotel from the nearest town/city/airport?.

So keep all this in mind when dreaming of a Wellness Vacation!  Now…Relax!

Travel to make those memories happen!

I’m writing this blog today to remind people that you need to make memories…create them as much as you can, because pictures are great, but they don’t even begin to tell the story that a memory will…

Recently my husband Lorne, my son Josh, and myself took my parents to Toronto.  To give you a little history, my dad has MS and has had it for 10 years.  He’s fortunate that it’s not very progressive and he isn’t in any pain.  They used to love to travel and now they feel it’s too hard because he can’t get around very well.  He’s either in a wheelchair or using a walker.

Now my son used to plan baseball, right through College.  His grandma and grandpa were at every game they could possible get to and loved every minute of it.  And now that my dad is basically in a wheelchair he sits in front of the TV all day during baseball season and watches the ball games…its his life.

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Josh (my son) has been asking his grandpa to let him take him to a live game in Toronto to watch his favorite team, the Toronto Blue Jays.  He always said No because it would be to hard for him to get around.  I’m a travel agent and have endless suppliers that I can work with to make sure the trip is seamless for him to go, but he kept saying No.  UNTIL this last month… I decided to lay it on the line (and give him a guilt trip about his grandson wanting to take him), and he finally said YES!!  We were in shock, but by the next day I had booked the Flights, front row with wheel chair assistance, the hotel connected to the Blue Jays Stadium, and Handicap transfer from the airport.  We took his wheelchair and walker and also arranged for a wheelchair for my mom so that she wouldn’t have to walk that much.  And Blue Jays tickets on the first level.

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Shopping for gear to wear to the game!

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Home run by favorite player – Baptista

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Waiting for the game to start

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Happy to be at a live game! Favorite Players – Buerhle, Price and Donaldson

It went so amazing.  The 2 extras for my dad was that they were playing the New York Yankees (his least favorite team) and we got a picture of him and my son with Russell Martin’s dad (the catcher on the team).

Another dream..touching the Stanley cup!

Another dream..touching the Stanley cup!

So my advice out to everyone is DO IT!  Travel somewhere..do something to make memories with family and friends.  obstacles can be overcome if you truly want them to.  This trip will be forever in our memories..seeing my dad and mom enjoy themselves so much! Thanks to WestJet for their amazing help with the flights, Dignity Transportation Company, Toronto Blue Jays staff, the Renaissance Toronto Downtown.

And 3 days after we returned he said that he wanted to look into doing an Alaskan Cruise!  Something they both have wanted to do all their lives!

Air Travel Myths…True or False

I came across an article on the Consumer Traveler magazine and had to share some of it with you. 

There are so much news out there telling us what we have to be careful with in terms of germs etc.  Its hard to keep track of it all!  All I know if that we were a lot healthier 30 years ago than we are now!  And a lot of the issues with traveling are germ issues.  So here is some of the Air Travel Myths and whats true and whats false.

Is the recirculated air in airplane cabins full of germs? FALSE!  That air is circulated through Hospital quality filers getting rid of 95% of the bad stuff.

Seat pockets and tray tables are cleaned regularly?  FALSE  They clean out the trash from the seat pockets and floor whenever possible, but it’s not done thoroughly. Be aware that a lot of disgusting things are put in those seat pockets (nail clippings, soiled diapers, dirty Kleenex etc), so don’t put any of your belongings in there. And clean the Table Tray with a disinfecting cloth. Apparently 60 per cent of the airlines tested positive for the MRSA superbug!    Oh, and those blankets that you get on long haul flights..they don’t get cleaned every time. They simply fold them up and put them back in bags!

Will any kind of Hole in the aircraft eventually tear the plane apart? FALSE  Example: a six-foot hole opened in the roof of an airplane while at 34,400 feet.  Decompression was rapid, but the plane made an emergency landing and no one was sucked out of the plane.

Wearing a seat belt on the plane hurts your chances of surviving a plane crash?  FALSE  It’s true it may slow you down a bit if you are trying to escape the crashed plane, but it does stop you from being sent spiralling through the plane before it crashes!

So there are some things to think about!  Now don’t you feel so much better about getting on a plane!  Have a fantastic week!

Silverback Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

I have always wanted to do the Trek to see the Gorillas! Here are amazing pictures of this travel writer being within touching distance of these beautiful silverbacks!

Confessions of An Intrepid Traveler

Tracking the endangered Silverback gorillas was hands-down one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had as a travel writer. The anticipation of seeing them in the wild was enhanced by the fact that they are very difficult to find. If you fly into Rwanda’s Kigali Airport, it takes a 2.5 hour harrowing drive to the Virunga National Park where the gorillas reside. Afterwards, with the guidance of an expert tracker, you hike between 1-2 hours to a higher elevation in the mountains to find them. A guy with a machete hacks away the gnarly branches along the way…


If there was rain that day or the previous day, you may want to consider hiring a “porter” who will carry your bags, equipment, and help you navigate the muddy incline.


Finally…you reach the gorillas and you are able to watch and take pictures of them for one hour in their natural…

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ImageToday is our second day in Dubai and we went on the “City of Merchants” Tour. The tour is a tour of the Traditional part of Dubai. Our first stop was a photo stop at the Burj Al Arab Hotel that’s shaped like a sailboat.  A truly magnificent hotel both outside and inside. Cost of stay at this hotel starts at $2700.00/night and the most expensive is $27, 500/night. Advantage with the expensive room is a helicopter pickup at the airport and you land on a landing desk at the hotel.  You have your own check-in right in your room. This hotel is located in the sea and they claim to be the only 7* hotel, although it is really only considered a 5* hotel.

We made a brief stop at the Jumeirah Mosque, the only mosque that allows the public in. P1060428

Next we drive past the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.             Jumeirah Beach hotel    Another beautiful hotel located at the Jumeirahah Beach, and is a family hotel. This hotel is massive and is located on a beach that will rival many in the world!  We would loved to have spent a week just spending time there. Interesting note is that Mondays the Beach is ONLY open to Woman.  Because of their culture they want the woman to feel comfortable not being totally covered up so they get the beach to themselves.

Next stop is the Dubai Museum. P1060468P1060479P1060488P1060470P1060469

It is very interesting to see how much Dubai has changed and grown over the decades. It showed us about the Pearl Industry, Carpentry, spices, Tailors, as well as information about the sea and desert. The Museum showed pictures of how Dubai has changed over theyears, the jewelry they used to wear all the time, the trinkets that were in their homes as well as military items.  Was great to see the history of Dubai.

Our next area to visit is very traditional Dubai. We took a traditional “abra” (water taxi). P1060491

These are open with just a bench to sit on and hold us to 20 people, cost is $1.00 of their money to go on it. Old Dubai is on the other side where the Spice and Gold Souk’s are.  Here you can buy spice by bulk and the Gold Souk is huge with over 200 Jewelry stores where you can buy Gold, Diamonds, precious stones and pearls. You barter at these stores to get the best price.  They say that you can usually barter them down 70% from the original price.   P1060500P1060497While at the Gold Souk we saw the Guinness World Book of Records heaviest Gold Ring.  P1060856P1060858

The Spice and Gold Souks were absolutely amazing to go through.  If you love jewelry as much as I do, I was in heaven in the Gold Souk!

We were looking forward to so much more to see in this amazing city!


Grand European River Cruise…An Amazing Cultural Experience

The Viking Longships

The Viking Longships

Imagine floating along 3 Rivers, through 5 Countries, past Fairytale Castles, picturesque vineyards, and amazing countryside.
The Grand European Tour starts in Amsterdam and tours along 3 rivers, through 5 countries, stops at 9 UNESCO World all the way to Budapest.

River Cruising has so many benefits for a rewarding vacation. The onboard experience is much more relaxed than a Oceanliner, with no crowds, no long lineups, the general atmosphere is more relaxed, therefore making it a more enjoyable experience. Meal times are a major focal point where it’s on a more casual atmosphere, the meals are unbelievable featuring regional specialties and contemporary cuisine and with it being a smaller vessel you will get to know more of the other people onboard. On most River Cruises your wine, beer and soft drinks are included at onboard lunches and dinners, as well as 24 hour complimentary cappuccino, coffee or tea, along with so many other extras that you don’t get on a Oceanliner.

The itineraries on a river cruise focus more on the smaller towns and villages because they can navigate into the smaller ports. These are places you won’t see on a Oceanliner. These intimate places are a way to see what the life if like in the different areas in a country away from the large centers.

On the Grand European Tour you will have 13 guided tours included in your itinerary, complete with audio headsets in the language of your choice. With a vast array of Cultural experiences, enjoying concerts featuring Austrian Classics and Baroque organ music, you can attend lectures on current affairs in Germany, Holland and The European Union; experience a Viennese market and even learn how to make Rudesheimer coffee. And how about learning the art of glassblowing or listen to the music of Mozart. These are just some of the amazing experience you will have on a River Cruise.
What you won’t find on a River Cruise are Casinos as well as there is very little entertainment except possibly a piano player or a local act brought on to entertain you. But that is what makes the River Cruise Experience so wonderful. You can go off the ship at some ports to experience the nightlife in a local pub or a cultural experience that is going on.
You won’t have a huge water slide in the middle of the ship, instead you will have a quaint dining area, or on top a mall swimming pool with deck chair around to sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you are floating along the river to your next stop.

River Cruising is really all about an amazing Cultural experience. Join us July 12 – 26, 2015 on this amazing journey through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

Something To Think About…

Wow is all I can say. I to own a small business and most of the time am running it on my own. Emergencies and Family obligations do come up, and I to close the door early. Its true that the owner is the Last to get paid, because I want to make the experience in my office more appealing, or that I pay my VERY hard working agents so they will stay with me and provide the great service that we give our clients.
So, please always remember that the person that closed their door early was gone for a good reason, and didn’t do it to “waste your time”. Thank you for this blog post. it says everything I have wanted to say!

Your Logo Done Here

It took me a couple of weeks to write this post, because I wanted to make sure that I got it right. I had to let it marinate for a minute. After a particularly grueling day, personally, a couple of weeks ago, I came in to the shop to find this note laying on the floor. It had been pushed through the mail slot by someone who was obviously #tickedoff at me for not being here. IMG_5325

At first I got pretty mad and wanted to scream at the faceless, genderless, writer of the note that wouldn’t they really like to know where I was? In the next moment I realized that it was not their fault, and that I “got it.” That person might have driven from way on the other side of Gurnee or Zion to get here, and they had no clue why I wasn’t here…they just knew…

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More on South Africa!

The Posts that you see on South Africa are Thanks to Janet Plante.  Janet and her husband Pete travelled with my group to South Africa in November and she kindly shared her expereience. 

We took 24 people to South Africa with us and it was an amazing experience!  With our first stop in Washington where we did a tour of the city and everything it has to offer we were so glad that we made that stop on our trip! there is so much to see and experience in Wasington and could easily go back there to see more.  With the Expertise of our amazing Guide Chris Hanson, we gained alot of great information about Washingtons history and places of interest.

As you can see from Janets Blog on our trip we travelled alot, saw alot and experienced so much it was overwheling but amazing.  From the Beautiful city of Capetown, Table Mountain, the Winelands, and Boulder Beach to see the Penguins.  The Boat Tour in St. Lucia where we saw Hippos, Crocodiles and many birds, was fantastic.  To see the Hippos up close in their habitat was so great!

Then our favorite part came with the first Game Drives.  We were loaded in the 4X4 vehicles and out we went to see what we could find! The one afternoon was so amazing. Unfortunatly some of the people stayed behind as they were tired, and it ended up being the best drive!  We saw an Elephant only a few feet away, Giraffes right on the road in front of us, Rhinos, and a leopard!  I can’t even begin to describe what it felt to see these animals up close in their own enviroment.  You can see them in a Zoo, and its not even close to the feeling you get seeing them in the wild!

We went into Swaziland where we went to a Candle Factory and watched them hand make beautiful candles and shopped in the local market there. We then went to the Chismo Safari Camp where we would be spending our next 3 days.  We were fortunatre to see so many more animals like the Male Lion with a kill.  One of our jeeps watched him come out of the bush, turn around and he roared at them.  The pictures were amazing!

After our games drives were over we headed on the plane to Victoria Falls in Zambezi!  Here we experienced the magnificent Victoria Falls!  We were there when they were at their lowest, which I thought would be disappointing, but wasn’t in the least!  We actually walked over the Land and Boulders that are usually covered by the water from the falls at its highest point!  To be able to see how deep the canyons were and how high the water actually goes and how much land it covers was unbelievable!  We could see the falls that were running as well, and it would definitly be a great experience to go back and see them at their highest and fastest stage.

After all the incredible experiences we went through in South Africa I would definitly go back in a second!  There are so many misconceptions of South Africa.  People say it can’t be safe…we never felt unsafe at any point in our trip!  The people are so friendly there, and its a beautiful country to visit.  It’s definitly a holiday I won’t EVER forget and would recommend to anyone! A HUGE Thank you to Deon Romijn for being such an Incredible Tour Guide.  There wasn’t anything that Deon didn’t know about South Africa!

If you would like more information onn a South Africa trip, please give us a call or e-mail!