Do You Really Want To Go There?

Do You Really Want To Go There?

How to know if the trip is right for you!

Information overload is a real thing in the world today.  There is a Youtube video for how to grow garbanzo beans to how to decorate an upside-down Christmas tree.  The internet is a very great tool for doing research. 

There are review sites for hotels, restaurants, doctors and boutiques.   Then you can make a casual post on facebook asking “where should I go on vacation?” And get the opinions of 30 different friends telling you what you must and must not do because they either loved it or hated it.

Now you have reviews to review and opinions and websites links that Aunt Gladys sent over to check out.  This is can lead to information overload and this can lead to mass confusion. 

Who is writing these reviews?  Is it someone who really knows what YOU like? There are times when bogus people are writing bad reviews and good reviews.  Read reviews closely.  What is a nice hotel to one person may not be a nice hotel to another? The term “nice hotel” is relative especially, when all you know is the place that leaves the light on for you.

When asking friends for their input, tread lightly.  Do they really know your likes and dislikes? Do they really know that you are a bed snob and the priority is a comfortable bed?  Our friends think they know us and we think we know our friends taste.  One resort or destination does not fit all.   One person may love 7 days on a cruise and give rave reviews on why you have to cruise.  You get on board the ship and realize the schedules of Bingo, Karoake by the pool, and small cabin rooms are not your cup of tea. For the next 1,2,3,4,5,6, —- 7 DAYS!!!

Here is a list of questions to ask each other when deciding on what you really want in this experience.

  • Is this a place you would choose with your partner (together)?
  • Do you both desire to go here? (Not I will go if he or she wants to.)  
  • Are you both interested in what the destination has to offer? 
  • Are there more than 3 things at the resort or destination that you like or want to see? 
  • Have either of you been there before?
  • What did we like in the past about our vacations?
  • What did we dislike?
  • What is the top 3 non-negotiables about this trip?
  • Is this a relaxing vacation?
  • Is this an activity filled vacation?
  • Will we stick to a schedule?
  • Do we want tours included?
  • What have we always wanted to do but haven’t yet?
  • How much time do we really have for this vacation?
  • How much money do we really have for this vacation?
  • Are we open to new culture?
  • Do we want to go to a new country?
  • How do we want to feel when we get there?
  • How do we want to feel when we leave?
  • What view do we want to see?
  • What type of service do we want?
  • What do we want to avoid?
  • What type of food are we expecting?

This list could go on and this is something you need to have a conversation about with the person you are going on the trip with, not your colleagues, not your best friend, not your Facebook friends and not the people reviewing the properties.  Do the research.  Look at the websites.  Then consult with a travel professional and go over the list of questions again.  Get an unbiased and educated opinion and come up with the decision of where you should really go by doing your research.  Remember the internet is for looking; travel professional is for booking. 

To have a free consultation with Shannon about your honeymoon, anniversary trip or vacation click here to schedule!

5 Honeymoon Woe’s and How to Avoid Them

5 Honeymoon Woe’s and How to Avoid Them

The word Woe means to have distress.  Distress and Honeymoon should not be in the same sentence if you ask me!   Honeymoons are mean for you to enjoy as a couple to get away from the stress of all of the wedding planning you have been doing.   However, 8 out of 10 couples stress over their honeymoon.  From deciding, planning to even being there. 

Here are my top 5 ways to avoid honeymoon woes!

We can’t afford a nice honeymoon

Creating a budget for the honeymoon should go in the budget with the wedding.  The honeymoon is part of the wedding. Determine what and who you want to spend your money on. You may find ways to cut cost from the wedding that would be better spend towards you and your fiancé.   

Another way to help make honeymoons affordable is by having a honeymoon registry.  This is just like a wedding registry however instead of gifts your guests give you money towards your honeymoon.  You can use the money to pay for the honeymoon or pay for excursions while you are on the honeymoon.

2. We can’t decide where to go.

He wants the mountains; she wants the beach.  What you do not need is to argue about this, you have enough to worry about with the details of planning a wedding.  There are a couple of ways to narrow it down.  There is a download provided with 25 questions you should ask each other before planning a wedding that you can refer to.

 What is really recommended is that you communicate.  Have an open mind when listening to the other person.  Ask questions about why they want to go there, ask what they liked most about where they have already traveled.   Dwell on the topic of traveling together and where you dream of going.  Really spend time on this.  

Research and look on the internet and then seek the advice of a travel professional.  Especially one that specializes in honeymoons.  They know this is the start of your happily ever after and they want you to have the best honeymoon every.  They will make sure you are choosing the right destination to fit your needs and wants.

3. We don’t have time to go on a honeymoon.

Only 1 in 4 couples go on their dream honeymoon.   Those 3 couples that do not go on their dream honeymoon live to regret this decision.  Just like scheduling the honeymoon in with the budget schedule the honeymoon when you do have time to enjoy the start of your lives as Mr. and Mrs.   This is an imperative time of your new marital relationship.   Making the time to be alone together rather than jumping back in to the day to day life of work is something that will strengthen the foundation of your relationship.

4. We don’t have the time to plan a honeymoon.

No, you don’t.  You are planning a wedding and having fun being engaged.  Planning a honeymoon does involve much time and research.  This is why you hire a travel professional to do the planning for you.  There is no reason you need should have to plan this all on your own.

The only thing you need to find is a travel professional that specializes in honeymoons and that you get along with.  You can do that by asking for referrals, googling honeymoon travel professionals in your wedding area.  Another excellent way to find a travel professional is by looking on the Knot and wedding wire.

5. We are afraid to go somewhere new or out of the country.

There are legitimate concerns for traveling out of the country this day and age.  Living in fear though is not how we grow.  “Borders divide.  Travel Unites.”  A very powerful quote.  Travel unites us as mankind.  Traveling to foreign countries also unite couples even more.  The experience as a couple is even more profound when you travel in love. 

Traveling out of the country is exciting.  When you have a travel professional to guide you along the way you will be safer.  You will have someone to call should anything go wrong and they will be there for you. 

There are many components to honeymoon planning and the woes should not be a part of it! 



Planning a destination wedding…….Use a Destination wedding specialist! 

Why a destination wedding specialist?  Such a great question to ask yourself.  You can plan your wedding using internet sites or the corner travel agent, but will you be getting the best value and experience?

   A Destination Wedding Specialist is just that.  Travel Counselors that specialize in the destination wedding process.  They will help you find the perfect island, resort, and location for your special day.  Looking for a romantic beach location, but don’t necessarily want 200 strangers looking your way?  That is hard to find by looking at a picture.  A wedding specialist has walked the grounds of most of the resorts they represent and knows which resorts can offer the seclusion that you are looking for.

You’ve had your heart set on a September wedding your whole life, now you decide that you would like a beach wedding in the Caribbean. That’s awesome! I can help… The first thing I’m going to recommend is that you avoid mid-September- mid-October as that time period has the highest amount of rainfall of the year. If you are not flexible, I’ll recommend a location that offers a beautiful alternative to the beach, just in case! 

We all speak English right?  Most of us do, but… many things get lost in translation when it comes to weddings and traditions that US brides like to follow.  Working with a Destination Wedding Specialist eliminates the risk of misunderstandings.

Do you know that most countries have “residency” laws that require you and your fiancé to be in the country at least 48 hours prior to a legal marriage?  Some even up to 7 days. If you are getting married in a non English speaking country your passports and birth certificates have to be translated into the local language. Who would think of that?   Your Destination Wedding Specialist is up to date on these requirements and can advise you. 

For the bride and groom, a destination wedding should be as easy as getting your passport, inviting your guests, packing your wedding and honeymoon attire and showing up!  

4 Ways You Know Its Engagement Season

From Thanksgiving day until February 15th the season is bestowed upon us.  The beautiful, loving time of the year when couples get engaged. 43% of engagements happen during this time.  The most popular days are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and Valentine’s Day.

If you are reading this and are already engaged or newly married you may or may not be guilty of any of the following.

1.  You have a standing weekly appointment for a manicure.
You want to be sure your hand is not only bling ready but also ready to take pictures of when the ring is placed!

2.  You have Facebook envy.
 Another friend just changed her status to engaged.  You are happy for her, really. Sigh. Soon, very soon, you can change your status. 

3. You keep a bottle of champagne chilled at all times.
You love champagne. And Because you never know when there is a reason to celebrate!

4. You’ve already bought this mug.
You know you will have coffee poured in it and on social media the very next morning!

In all seriousness, you know when the time is right the proposal will happen.  Let it happen naturally.  Be open and avoid spoiling the surprise for him and for YOU!

Happy Engagement Season!

3 Reasons Why Traveling Together is Beneficial For Your Relationship

3 Reasons Why Traveling Together is Beneficial For Your Relationship

Did you know, per the U.S. Travel Association Almost two-thirds of couples surveyed found that a vacation is more likely to spark romance in their relationship than a gift? Seventy-two percent of the 1,100 American adults surveyed said that traveling inspires their romance. More than three-quarters – 77 percent – of those who travel as couples reported that they have a good sex life.

As couples, we tend to get complacent in our daily routines.  We get comfortable in how we see ourselves and each other.  We unknowingly start taking our partner for granted.  This is not necessarily done in a bad way. We do this subconsciously, just as we take for granted the beautiful blue sky outside.  After seeing something repeatedly people tend to this with each other as well.   Therefore, traveling together as a couple does serve your relationship intimately, if you are newly married or married for 60 years. 

Here are 3 reasons why traveling together is beneficial for your relationship. 

1.  Creates a Newness 

When you travel to place or even a new resort in a familiar destination you create an energy of excitement.  People get excited when they are in a new setting and see new, beautiful things.  That enthusiasm is contagious and you want to share the pleasure with each other. Being in a new destination, seeing new places of interest, trying new foods, part taking in new adventures and doing this together as a couple helps couples to see each other in a new way.  Or maybe an old way?  The old way is like when you first met and had those butterflies.  New places create an environment that lets us relax and enjoy the moment.

2.    Allows you to focus

Traveling away from home, work, family, friends, kids and any other added distractions that take you away from focusing on each other will permit you to fully focus on your partner.  Disruptions are very limited.  If you allow yourself to put away your cell phone, then the attention is even better.  With greater focus comes even more relationship growth without even having to put forth a lot of effort.  The growth happens organically because you are not distracted. 

3.    Brings back memories

Being in a new place on a vacation or a honeymoon allows you to start relaxing.  Relaxing and just being together as a couple will create new memories, however, it will also allow you to cherish the memories you have already created.  Even as far back to your first kiss. 

Live in the moment on the trip, cherish your past and celebrate your future!



Honeymoon for foodies

Food can be very romantic and sexy.  Dinner and ambiance create a setting for two people to connect on deeper levels.  Enjoying a leisure meal together watching a sunset with candle lights flickering set the mood for the night.  Taste buds dance as you share a bite by feeding each other.   Eye contact is made more during a special dinner than normal conversations.  Maybe there is slight brush of her foot on his leg under the table.  Spirits are sipped, laughter is shared as you decide to share dessert or maybe even get it to go.   This can happen on any given night at any given restaurant or home.   The power of a romantic dinner is un-measurable.  The power of a romantic dinner on your honeymoon for the next 5-10 nights is on an entirely different level.

Romantic dinner

A new trend in honeymooning is traveling for the love of food.  Couples that have a love for culinary art and enjoy exquisite cuisine then food is a priority for your honeymoon. Below are 3 places to visit for a gourmet honeymoon.

Below are 3 places to visit for a gourmet honeymoon.

  1. Italy

What is not romantic about Italy?  The language is sexy, the cities are exotic and romantic. Love is everywhere in this country.  The landscape is stunning, the music is soft and gentle, the people are welcoming and then there is the food.  The food is enchanting.  There are numerous places to visit in Italy and partake in the culture and the food. Alice of See Italy Tours gave us her insight “Emilia Romagna region. This is the area known as the heart of Italian Food, where it is possible to taste the best hand made tortellini, do a market tour in Bologna, see how Parmigiano Reggiano is made, taste the famous culatello, visit a balsamic vinegar producer and do a vertical tasting at the end of the visit. A cooking class in this region is a unique experience that is not to be missed!” 

2.  Mexico

Mexican cuisine is more than just tacos.  Mexico is about flavor, sizzle and spice.  Mix in a tequila tasting and the sizzle sparks the romance.  The Riviera Maya has offerings to the honeymoon couple that has expert taste buds by having gourmet all inclusive resorts.  Enjoy the ease of all inclusive , the luxury resorts, the amenities, the beach and the fine cuisine at a several resorts in the area.   One resort in the Riviera Maya hasa Michelin-starred chef’s restaurant.  Another resort line is pegged with their tag line “gourmet inclusive.”

3.  Hawaii

The mountains, the beach, the volcanoes, the lush tropical flowers filling the air with sweet aroma is a classic honeymoon retreat.  The flair of Hawaiian culture reflects in their love cooking.   The dynamic of food here is compelling.  From having fun with local food trucks, dining at restaurants with Japanese influence and participating in a traditional luau couples are sure to relish in the romance here.  Island hopping, food tasting, luxury resorts, beach relaxing, all make for a honeymoon to remember.

For more information on planning a gourmet honeymoon contact Paradise Vacation Escapes. 



He proposed.
She said yes.
Now What?

  • You immediately change your Facebook status to ENGAGED
  • You make an appointment for a manicure
  • You start the Pinterest and Etsy search for all things wedding.
  • You schedule shopping dates with your besties

Your mind races on all of the tasks that need to be done.  How will it get done?  Who is going to do it? When will it get done?  Meanwhile, everyday work, school, and daily life obligation are still happening.

How do you keep calm, stay a blissful bride and have a happy engagement?

Here are 3 practices for your engagement to stay stress-free.

1. Plan a no wedding time zone.

When you see each other spend at least one hour talking with each other about NON-wedding related topics.  If you can go more than an hour that is even better.  If you live together, make a time slot, for example from 6 pm -8 pm a no wedding talk zone.  Too often during engagements, the only topic discussed is the wedding.  Avoid this to save and enjoy your engagement.

2. Have Fun

Remind yourself and each other that a wedding is an occasion and is meant to be a fun celebration.  Relax on the planning.  If it becomes too stressful hire a planner so that you can be in the state of bliss that a bride should be in.

3. Enthusiasm and Excitement about the Marriage

When you focus on the marriage and the person that you are going to spend the rest of your life with the details of the wedding won’t matter.  When your focus in on the marriage the other details will fall into place effortlessly.  Your heart is centered on the truth, your heart is focused on love and things seem to work out when you are in a state of bliss and joy.

Remember to enjoy the engagement to each other. Let the engagement last.  Savor the time with each other at this stepping point in your relationship. Engaged is temporary. Marriage is permanent. Be ENGAGED with each other, dream of your future together as you stay present in the engagement time and each other’s hearts.