Wednesday, December 28, 2016

5 Reminders Before You Depart

There are so many things to remember before you depart on your divine destination.  I have put together a short list of the Top 5 reminders before you leave on your trip:

  1. Stop the mail.  Mail piled up is a sure sign that you are not home.  Deter burglars by stopping the mail altogether.  It’s easy peasy: simply go to → hold mail and request that the mailman delivers accumulated mail a day or two after your return.

  1. Turn down your thermostat.  No too low though!  Don’t turn it down lower that about 57 degrees to avoid freezing pipes.  In addition, if you have a programmed thermostat, make sure the batteries are new to prevent the furnace from malfunctioning due to a $2 dead battery.  

  1. Call your bank and credit card companies to let them know you will be traveling.  There is nothing worse than trying to purchase something abroad and the transaction declining because your bank thought it was fraudulent.
  1. Pack an extra duffle bag or suitcase or even nest a carry on into your checked bag so you can bring home your treasures! There is nothing worse than being “that guy” at the airport trying to avoid the overweight charges by shuffling stuff from one suitcase to the other.  Unless you have a hard fast rule of “no shopping” this will be the easiest way to bring back more than you brought.

  1. Don’t post your every move on social media, including posting pictures of the lovely beach scene if it’s a winter wonderland back home.  In addition, turn off your location on your cell phone.  Anytime you post on social media, it will show where you posted it from including photos, updates and even comments.  

For more on this topic or any other travel questions please contact me.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mount Cinnamon, Grenada

After traveling four flights and almost 15 hours later, I arrived a quick ride from the airport at what would be my home base for one night at Mount Cinnamon.  After the journey I had taken to arrive there, I lovingly nick named it Mount Zion instead!  Arriving in the dark made it impossible to imagine what I was about to witness once the sun rose, but trust me, it was awe-mazing!  

The sweeping 180 degree ocean views from the balcony of my villa were impressive but to watch nature “do her thing” was even more incredible.  As I was sipping my morning cup of Joe that I made in my colorful kitchen, I was enamored by the fact the rain would come down on the terracotta roofs yet only on one or two sides.  Unlike the cold grey damp downpours of Minnesota that soak you and chill you to the bone, the showers here were quite literally like sunshine and rainbows gently poured from the sky.  It’s obvious why the fauna is so dense and lush on this Caribbean island of Grenada when Mother Nature feeds the land with sporadic showers and lots of sunshine.  And just as fast as it started, it seemed to stop and then the sunshine came back out in its full glory.  I stayed out there for most of the morning, snapping photos, taking videos and sending them to my friends back home.  As jealousy and snarky comments filled my stream and screen, I digressed.  Quickly I felt the humidity rise as well as the temperature.  I wondered if my pasty white skin could handle the rays and if my body could handle the heat.  I was up for the challenge!

And challenge indeed it was!  I took a tour to see the rooms and amenities offered at Mount Cinnamon and although it’s a small boutique-like property, we climbed hills like goats and saved our conversations for inside the villas instead of during our cardio climbs.  This isn’t the best resort for the physically challenged, however, they do have golf carts that will take you to your room if you’d like.  We opted for the exercise.  If you are looking for a small studio style accommodations or plan to bring the entire family where you’ll need multi bedroom accommodations, there is a spot here that is perfect for you.  What I loved the most about these villas was the authentic caribbean style that was uniquely infused in each separate room.  My shower was lime green and decorated with the likes of frogs and lizards while others were pink and had more of a sea shell theme.  My favorite was the bright refrigerators that commanded your attention.  From cobalt blue, sunshine yellow to my favorite, retro orange, each room was unique with it’s own color scheme.  

Speaking of refrigerators, with most all rooms having a kitchen, dining in for at least a few meals a day is doable, but for those of you who hate to cook, especially on vaca, (that’s me!) there are a few restaurants on property.  My favorite room on the property wasn’t actually a room, but more of a residence, appropriately named Cinnamon Heights, as it is at the very tippy top of the property.  It comes with a state of the art kitchen that would make Martha Stewart jealous,

tons of space to entertain inside and out, an infinity pool that overlooks the ocean, outdoor showers and multiple bedrooms.  At 6,000 square feet of privacy, this would make a magical escape for a family reunion, small wedding party or even a girls getaway.  

I missed breakfast because I was enamored with the beauty from my balcony so I made sure to grab lunch before I had to check out.  I went down to the beachfront restaurant called Savvy, set directly on the best beach in Grenada, Grand Anse Beach.
 It’s here that I met a sweet waitress named Twainel.  I chose a table inside and out of the sun.  She knew there was a better seat in the house and encouraged me to come outside, under the umbrella where I could put my toes in the sand and get a better view of the sea.  She was eager to tell me all about the menu and to be honest, I was eager to try a classic rum punch with real shaved nutmeg in it!  She brought me my drink in a pretty tall hourglass shaped glass complete with a cute little umbrella.  Nutmeg infused my drink and also decorated the top.  It almost looked like sand next to the umbrella.  I was disappointed that I didn’t like the drink, mostly because I didn’t want to offend her, afterall, nutmeg is their claim to fame in the island of Grenada.  I politely (and very slowly) drank it while we chatted more about the local lifestyle, things to see and do, safety, politics and what you won’t find in Grenada due to the religious laws.  

Grenadians are some of the nicest people I’ve met on my journeys.  It’s also one of the safest islands in all of the West Indies.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Paradise was easy to get to, everyone would go.  Because of this, if you are looking for an unspoiled, true exotic island escape, consider Grenada and Mount Cinnamon for your next Divine Destination!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


On March 21, President Obama flew to Cuba to improve relations and, thanks to the recent civil aviation agreement that allows other Americans to fly there too, tourism is bound to explode. Before booking your flight, what should you really know?  

There is a lot of talk about how much Cuba could and will change once tourism restrictions are lifted further. The embargo from the last 50 years has left a distinct and unique culture and experience unlike any other Caribbean destination. And to travel without a license you’ll need to go for one of 12 reasons deemed acceptable by the U.S. government and provide an itinerary.”

However, you still cannot book a flight or a vacation to Cuba like you would any other Caribbean destination. Legally, U.S. travelers still must book their travel through a company that has been granted the required license and visa by the Cuban government.

One of the simplest ways to see the nation is to book a people-to-people educational program with a company that provides these experiences. Take advantage of special excursions that allows the traveler to enjoy the diverse offerings of Cuba, from the breathtaking architecture of the region to samplings of authentic Cuban flavors. These programs also have an educational component That allows you to learn more about the people, history and culture of Cuba. Americans now have the opportunity to select a shorter vacation package, which can be two nights and less regimented. The package includes a comprehensive guidebook that allows you to roam more freely on your own. I still highly recommend having a guide, though, as you can see and learn so much more.

Also be aware that while the Wi-Fi is getting better, it is not the same as in the States. Also, cash is still the main currency. There isn’t much infrastructure for credit cards or ATM cards, so Americans should be prepared to have cash while traveling.

On the fun side, when planning your itinerary, there are several must-sees such as visiting the cigar factory, the famous Christopher Columbus cemetery, a visit to Hemingway’s house and of course, Old Havana is beautiful with its cobblestones, cathedral, shops and restaurants.

Have I peeked your interest? Why not come along with us to Cuba next spring? We will be escorting a group to Cuba on a people to people adventure next March.  For more details, be sure to visit our website and request more information.

Monday, December 5, 2016

What's On Your Christmas Wish List

With the countdown until Christmas underway, do you feel less excited about the holidays than in recent years?  I know I sure have.  Is it a sign of getting old and crotchety?  Lord I hope not!  In fact, I think more than anything, as we age we realize life is fleeting and tomorrow is not guaranteed which is why today is called a gift.  Combine that with the overload of commercialism, me me me mentality and genuine ‘Merica syndrome I’m the first to tap out of this race.  Does this mean my children will wake up on Christmas morning to an empty tree where others may have a sea of gifts delivered by Santa the night before?  No, however, the money I could’ve spent on things that wear out, get returned or plain, just break has now been redirected in a different direction.  It’s the gift of travel.

The gift of travel always fits, is always the right color and never goes out of style or needs to be returned.  Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles can jump on the bandwagon and give complementing gifts that would enhance the vacation such as tours, excursions, swimsuits, hiking boots, Disney gift cards and more, depending on the location of the trip.  With wifi being readily available throughout most of the world, staying connected shouldn’t be an issue.  So if you need to check in with the rellies or even facebook live parts of your trip you can do so easily.  My Grandma always had a thing for wanting to know her gift was appreciated and more importantly, used.  So taking some pictures of you and your kids wearing the boots hiking the mountains of Peru or the swimsuit snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados or even videoing through your GoPro your ziplining adventures in Costa Rica, Grandma is sure to see the gift being used but the excitement and smiles will far outweigh the utility of the gift and that’s all that really matters to her.

Sure this type of gift will be more expensive than the latest video game, a pellet gun or even the newest toy that talks and burps but hands down, it will be the most valuable, memorable and enjoyed gift ever!  My kids still talk about the time they got to go to Jamaica for the first time, or when they learned to scuba dive, swam with JoJo the dolphin in Turks and even when they went ziplining at Mystic Mountain and saw spiders as big as their face!  Ok, well, maybe not that big but hey, I hate spiders so I may have exaggerated just a bit.  Don’t judge me!

There are many ways to save for this gift.  I detailed how to save over $30,000 on your next vacation in another blog, but here are just a few more simple tweaks to your daily life that will allow you to afford your next big purchase (vacation anyone?) a little easier:
  1. Stop with your daily latte.  Here alone you will save $5/day
  2. Brown bag it and you will save time, money AND extra calories
  3. Carpool
  4. Use coupons
  5. Ask about discounts (returning guest, military, etc)
  6. Plan ahead and book early
  7. Sign up with a credit card that gives travel perks or cash back

At the end of your life, it’s not the things we bought that was precious but the time spent with one's we love.  Nobody on their deathbed ever says I wish I would’ve given more gifts, instead they always want more time together.  Since we don’t know when our time on earth is done and we can’t take our money with us, seize each moment to spend the most quality time with the ones you love.  For many, doing it away from the daily distractions on a cruise, a beach or simply in a different destination is what fits the best!  

Monday, November 28, 2016

When is the best day to purchase airline tickets?

If I had a $1 for every time I was asked this question, I swear, I would be writing this blog from my beach house in the Caribbean instead of Minnesota, sipping sumatra coffee trying to keep warm on this dreary November day! Somewhere along the line some travel guru or website made us believe that there was a magical formula to booking tickets.  I’m not sure when or where it started but to be honest, I followed the sage advice of these gurus as if they would take me to the Promised Land.  That was before travel was my career.  Now that I’ve been in the business almost 10 years, day in and day out creating memorable vacation packages for people around the globe, I can tell you what I have learned.  The magic formula is, well, bullshit.

Fact or Crap?  Tuesday is the best day to buy airline tickets.
Crap.  Last week as a recent example, I quoted a client a package on Monday and they had to talk it over before making a decision.  I offered to lock in the rate for 24 hours while they consulted their calendars, babysitters and bank account, however, they declined.  The next day (Tuesday) I received the email they were ready to book!  Yay!  Except, now the price had increased over $75/ticket.  What the?  “I thought Tuesdays were cheaper days to book”, questioned my client.  Yeah, you and the rest of the world apparently.

Fact or Crap?  You need a Saturday night stay in order to find the cheapest tickets.
Crap.  Even if you do manage to lock in a cheaper fare, here’s the part most people never consider: Saturday nights are the most expensive nights to stay in a hotel, go to dinner and simply do anything out on the town.  So the few bucks you may have saved on your airfare has been quickly washed away to finance your most expensive evening on your itinerary.

Fact or Crap? Nonstop flights are the most expensive.
Crap.  Did you know it actually costs the airlines more money to run more than one flight to a destination?  Imagine if you only had to employ one crew, one plane, one tank of gas, one stocked beverage cart.  Behind the scenes what you don’t see is the taxes that are on a typical plane ticket.  There is a departure tax and a landing tax built into each ticket.  Now if it takes you two or three stops to get to your destination, that’s two or three more sets of taxes added to your ticket alone not to mention all the other expenses the airline incurs with the multiple segments, planes, crew, etc.  

Of course there is an exception to every rule but for the most part, what I’ve learned is that there is no magical formula to getting the best airfare.  It’s a matter of supply and demand.  If everyone is online searching and booking airfare on Saturday morning and the planes begin to fill up, the price goes up.  Not because it’s Saturday but because of the supply and demand.  If you wait until the last minute to book your airfare, generally speaking, you will pay more than the one who planned a little further than a week in advance.  By booking early you will get the best itinerary, seats and hopefully price.  Most planes are overbooked these days so it’s foolish in my opinion to play Russian Roulette with the most important piece of your vacation - the one that determines IF you go at all!  Bowing out of a trip because you couldn’t find good airfare is the lamest excuse.  It just means you were too darn lazy to look sooner or enlist the help of a travel pro!  

Here are a few of my favorite go tos to watch for or search for best days to travel ~ download them, save your preferred gateways and get ready for your next Divine Destination!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

FOX 21 How To Stay Healthy on a Plane

Many travelers would swear that they get sick after every trip or vacation. They wonder if it was the food, the water, the pina coladas -- or, like me, the airplane ride. While I don't think you can count out the pina coladas (or that burrito you bought on the street), it turns out you could be right about airplanes; the most likely culprit: extremely low cabin humidity.
Most commercial airlines fly in an elevation range of 30,000 to 35,000 feet, where humidity typically runs at 10 percent or lower. At very low levels of humidity, the "natural defense system" of mucus in our noses and throats dries up and is crippled, creating a much more tolerant environment for germs to infect us.
Tips to Avoid the Airplane Cold
1. Stay hydrated. It turns out that drinking plenty of water will not only counter the overall dehydrating effects of air travel, which can lead to headaches, stomach problems, cramps, fatigue and more, but can actually help your natural immune mechanisms to function considerably better. In an airplane, where your nose and throat are on the front lines of the war with exceedingly dry air, these are the first places to suffer. Sipping water or some other fluid regularly throughout the flight may be more effective than drinking a lot of water at one time. Additionally, hot drinks are a good way to keep your protective mucous membranes working.
2. Keep your hands clean. Your hands are the most consistent point of first contact with cold, flu and other germs. It is a direct line from armrest/ handshake/seat back to a full-blown fever a few days later. Hand washing is not just for restaurant workers and travelers; If possible, wash your hands before any in-flight meals, and after your flight as well.
3. Don't forget the dental hygiene. Just as keeping your hands clean can prevent transmission of germs, using a germ-killing mouthwash in-flight may add another layer of protection while simultaneously helping to keep your throat moist. Just make sure your mouthwash bottle is three ounces or smaller to comply with the latest carry-on rules for liquids and gels.
4. Take your vitamins. The rapid response effect of vitamins is unproven, but many travelers swear by them.  In addition, drinking an immunity booster chock full of Vitamin C such as Emergency C or Airborne is never a bad idea. Personally, I have no idea if it helps at all, but of all the flights I have taken, I rarely get colds. The department of health tells us that no conclusive data has shown that large doses of vitamin C will prevent colds, although it may reduce the severity or duration of symptoms.

For more information on this topic or any other travel questions please contact me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

River Cruises Are Rising In Popularity

Have you ever awakened to a new world? Have you ever taken a trip that satisfied your mind, body and soul? Have you ever had a place far, far away hand delivered to you and you to it? Have you ever traveled across a continent without touching a suitcase? Or been on a cruise with endless views?   
Imagine beginning your journey in Amsterdam where a childhood storybook comes to life as you sail through Germany, Prague and even Vienna! Prefer views of castles and vineyards instead? There's an itinerary for that; especially noteworthy would be France! Prefer hops over tannins? You'll love the authentic brew tours throughout Germany and Austria!  What's even better is you can customize your itinerary by adding a few days at the beginning or on the end to see more of Europe your way. Prefer to stick with the schedule? Be sure to take advantage of the cooking classes on board or the lecture about the upcoming highlights at the next port. With exclusive admission to museums or even theatrical performances, there's never a dull moment on your cruise!
River cruises are rising in popularity, and it’s no wonder why. Less passengers, more inclusions, and unpacking once are just a few reasons why people are realizing that river cruising is the best way to explore Europe!  At Divine Destinations, we’re experts in travel, but we think Avalon Waterways are experts when it comes to river cruising. We compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you once you get on board your next  river cruise ship.
  • Get extra closet space by storing your empty luggage under your bed.  More space makes you feel less crowded and more comfortable.  Trust me when I say you’ll want to hang out here and take in the gorgeous view, but with less “stuff” in the way.

  • You can create a name tag when you arrive –  it’s a fun way to get to know our fellow cruisers.  Chatty Cathys unite!

  • Include binoculars in your luggage. There is so much to see along the shores and it’s fun to be able to look at small castle and vineyard details from your stateroom..

  • Port talks and the entertainment are very popular – if you want a front-row seat, we recommend getting to the Panorama Lounge early

  • Don’t forget your included headset for shore excursions – the Local Guides bring the destinations to life with their rich and historical commentary

  • On the last day of the cruise, you can print out a full set of the dinner menus for the cruise – such a fun keepsake to remember all the amazing meals you’ve eaten

  • Is there was a particular dish that everyone loved? Ask your server at dinner and your chef will provide your travel group with the recipe

I would love to talk to you about all of the different River Cruise options that you have for your next vacation. Please give me a call for more information.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Welcome to Grenada!

Amid packing for a week in Paradise, my plans were slightly disturbed with an email from my host hotel announcing I would be virtually homeless for my first night in Grenada due to an overbooked Saturday night.  Nothing says, “we can’t wait to meet you” like an email announcing your eviction.  Luckily, I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people from the Grenada Tourism Board a month earlier at a travel convention, so I was able to not only figure out a place to lay my head that first night, but also the logistics of traveling to said hotel.  Francine put me in touch with Mount Cinnamon.  The name couldn’t be more perfect!  Set high atop the mountainside overlooking the sea I felt like I was in some fancy European coastal town I couldn’t pronounce.  Do you smell that?  What is it?!  Nutmeg? Cinnamon? Could be both, afterall, it is the island of spice and whether atop the mountain or out to sea you can smell this inviting smell.  It’s heavenly!

They say if Paradise was easy to get to everyone would go.  It took me three connections and four flights to reach my destination.  Partly because of the season, the gateway and because I was using miles.  There are daily flights from Miami so depending on your location from Miami, it may not be as much of a challenge as it was for me coming out of northern Minnesota. In October.  Arriving into Grenada is something like circa 1950s where we deplane outside and walk the tarmac to the airport.  You know you are in the true Caribbean when you get to do this! Our flight arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule which allowed us to clear through customs and immigrations a bit quicker without much hassle.  Outside the airport we witnessed herds of people awaiting their all inclusive shuttle.  As they scrutinized their paperwork to make sure they had the right shuttle that would take them to their Americanized resort abroad I sauntered to the taxi hub where I was able to grab a local beer, Stag or Carib, and I whatsapped my friend to let her know I had arrived.  I wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere.  Afterall, I had just arrived in Paradise.  It was fun to people watch.  I especially love to watch Americans.  You can always pick out the ones who haven’t traveled much.  They are the ones who stick together like they may be separated and never see each other again.  The ones who are horrified when they see the speed of the drivers or how many people they can pack in a car (or on the back of a dump truck)!  They also are the ones who somehow find it necessary to put on this “gameface” of all seriousness and don’t smile and refuse to talk to locals without the fear of being had.  It’s ok, I’m not judging; I was one of those Americans once too.

As the 80+ degree night paired with 90% humidity and slight sea breeze blew on my face I sat and enjoyed my cool beverage while I awaited my ride.  My hair morphed into some ridiculous mushroom cap and my pasty white skin sparkled (divas don’t sweat, they sparkle) yet the locals weren’t scared.  We chatted a bit about politics (of course, it was obvious I was an American) and I inquired about what were some of the must see things to do.  They boasted about the beautiful coastline, the Estates, the rainforest, the festivals, the chocolate, brewery tours and on and on….such a proud country with humble souls!  My phone alerted me my ride was on her way.  Mass had just ended and since my flight was early she apologized for running late.  No worries, this is the stuff I can blog about!  I began to giggle a little to myself after I realized how small the cars were.  I wondered how many others would be in the car and where my bags would go.  Not to be disappointed, in true Caribbean style, Francine pulls up in her personal car (not a company shuttle) loaded with kids from church and greets me with a warm smile and hug.  We situate my bag in the car next to her son who isn’t thrilled but takes one for the team.  I got to sit in the back seat with the children and I’m instructed to “hold the eggs” so they don’t break.  I love this!  To distract the children, about 8 and 10, from the fact we’re squished in the backseat I started asking them questions such as, “what do I HAVE to do while I’m here”.  Their answers surprised me; very simple yet so honest:  You need to go to the beach.  Look for shells.  Talk a lot because you have a funny accent.  Wear lots of that lotion because you are as “white as chalk”.   Before I knew it, the ride was over and I had to say goodbye to my little friends. Oh my goodness they were adorable!

Although many of you reading this won’t have an experience like this when you go to Grenada you hopefully got a sneak peek into what it will feel like to go there.  You will notice the friendliness, the sincerity, the servant hearts.  You will also notice the beauty of the island that is found out at sea and deep within the rainforest.  You will see lots of police officers but most of which don’t carry weapons on one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.  In a nutshell (ha! no pun intended) if you are looking for a new destination, something unique, consider Grenada.  You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pure Grenada

So many times I hear people say how the world is a scary place, especially outside the safe confines of our small bubble we call home.  As a travel consultant, it’s my job to not only find the best flight schedules and accommodations, but it’s also my job to make good recommendations on certain destinations based upon many other factors as well, including but not limited to: ease of getting to, quality of said accommodations, variety of food and activities and recommendations within these.  Another part of my job is to make sure I am recommending a safe destination.  How else do we know these recommendations to be true unless we experience it for ourselves?  Google & Trip Advisor are not the Holy Grail nor should they be revered as such.  Would you rather trust a computer whose sole purpose is to gather facts, a group of people whom you’ve never met to tell you their likes and dislikes or someone like myself who can tell you in great detail how things will work each step of the way, what to expect, make specific recommendations based upon your personal preferences and be there for you in the event you need me? That is why I travel; to be able to bring this first hand knowledge to you so that your precious vacation is about making memories, not mistakes.  

With that being said, this past week I had the privilege to travel to the far southeast Caribbean to a gem of an island called Grenada.  This is island is so small, from the air you can see the entire area inside my camera lens!

Despite it’s size, this destination offers just as much if not more than the other larger islands whom are a bit more popular.  First of all, this island is a bit of a challenge to get to.  From Duluth, it took me three flights and two airlines to get there.  However, as they say, if Paradise was easy to get to everyone would go.  

You know you are in somewhere fairly remote when you deplane outside and walk down the tarmac to enter the airport.  The warm Caribbean breeze tousling your hair instantly affirms your vacation choice!   From the airport, nothing is too terribly far, but I recommend an inexpensive American chain for your first night to sleep and the next day head over to your permanent home for the vacation.  Taxi service is abundant so getting where you need to go is simple, safe and convenient considering they do accept US dollars.  The island is quite hot, so a taxi with AC is a luxury.  I found one I highly recommend because of his cool car but also his cool vibe that will enhance your stay while here.  You won’t feel unsafe riding with Chris as he navigates the island on the left hand side or while climbing hills you thought only goats could.

In Grenada their currency is Easter Caribbean (EC).  And the exchange rate as of October 2016 is $1USD = $2.65EC.  

Not the simplest math to compute in your head so lucky for you, they do accept US dollars.  I’m not sure I would recommend converting your cash to EC unless you are not staying at an all inclusive and are the type of traveler who will be out and about daily.  For the resort dwellers, the all inclusive plan means you don’t need to carry cash at all; it’s all included.   If your resort isn’t all inclusive, you can charge your food and drink to your room and pay with your credit card at departure.  More on my stay at the gorgeous Mount Cinnamon here.

Grenada is known as the Spice Island, so something I noticed throughout my stay is the scent of spices, mostly nutmeg and cinnamon, in the air.  What a welcome change from the Pumpkin Spice Everything season in the US!  You can buy spices from street vendors, at tourist attractions, supermarket and even at the airport.  
One thing I noticed is how affordable they were regardless of where you got them.  Such a fun surprise, especially as we are entering into the holiday season where nutmeg, cinnamon and other wonderful spices are used for baking, cooking and of course our holiday cheer!  In fact, there is such an abundance of nutmeg here, when I completed a survey at the airport, they thanked me with two whole nutmeg balls!  For the chocolate lovers, here you will find some of the purest and delicious chocolate.  You can tour the factory or simply buy the finished product.  

I can’t give you a rundown of Grenada and not mention how friendly the people are here and how low the crime rate is.  Despite being the only white person on the streets for a majority of the time here, I can honestly say, I never once felt out of place or uneasy.  I always felt welcome, safe and accepted.
 Grenada is a very religious island, therefore, many of the laws and dos and don’ts come from the countries leaders who also hold high positions within their church.  Catholic is the main religion here.  You won’t find strip clubs here as they are illegal,  yet you have access to the some of the sexiest, laciest lingerie on the streets at the market.  Starbucks is not here (amen) however a cool Carib beer just about at every corner (hallelujah because it’s hot here!)  In Grenada it is punishable by law if you are caught cursing or swearing in public.  $3000EC is the minimum fine, possibly with a month in prison if the judge finds you to be rude as well.  Holy $#*!!  
I noticed a fair amount of police presence on the streets.  This didn’t make me feel any more or less safe but what I did find interesting is that they didn’t carry guns.  Yes, unarmed police and a crime rate that is the lowest in all the Caribbean islands.  

I’ve only been in the US for less than 24 hours now but my time in Grenada seems but a dream!  If you are looking for something new, exotic and unforgettable consider Grenada.  I’ve tasted and seen.  Grenada has given me more hope in the human race since God knows when.  Come here to vacation and you will leave refreshed, recharged and rejuvenated with hope, love and a new zest on life.  They say the ocean is therapeutic and can heal many things that ail you.  Why not try it for yourself?  It’s cheaper than therapy and is way more fun! Ready to see for yourself? I'd love to chat with you! Click here to get started and soon you will be off on your own Divine Destination!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Passport Book Vs. A Card, Is There A Difference?

This is one of those subjects that is a little sour for me to talk about.  Why? Because I believe in being a straight shooter.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much straight shooting going on when a person applies for their passport.  And whichever one you get will determine if your travels will allow you to go on your adventure or not.  If you purchase the wrong one, then you will be forced to pay even more monies for the correct passport and most likely incur huge expediting fees too.  Read on…

A Passport Card will allow you to travel to Mexico and Canada via a motor vehicle or train, but not via an aircraft.  This makes it a great option for the annual fishing trips to Canada, however, when that once in a lifetime trip to Europe presents itself or your daughter announces she will be having a Destination Wedding in Mexico, unless you plan to drive there, you are not going anywhere!  A passport card is also good for cruising, however, if you get delayed and miss your ship only to find yourself stuck in Honduras, you will find it more than difficult to return to US soil since a passport card will not allow you to fly with it.  

On the other hand, a Passport Book truly opens up the possibilities for you and the world is your oyster.  You will be able to travel the world via cruise, airplane or car without any worries or restrictions.  They are valid for 10 years and if you are under the age of 16, they will need to be renewed every 5 years.

How Do I Get One?
The process is exactly the same whether you want a card or a book.  Go to your local Post Office and some DMVs do this now too.  Simply prove you are a US citizen with your certified birth certificate and a picture ID along with your completed application.  It’s a good idea to bring in your own passport photo (purchased at Walgreens or via a new app called ------)or you can have it done for you when you apply.

What Does It Cost?
New, replacement or renewal of a passport book: $110 if age 16 and older; $80 if under the age of 16. New, replacement or renewal of a passport card: $30 if age 16 and older; $15 if under the age of 16.

So Why the Sour Attitude?
I feel like people will take the cheaper route when given a choice.  Unfortunately, this will ultimately lead to spending more money than necessary once they find out that they have the wrong passport.  I once had a client who was denied boarding because she had a passport card. She honestly didn’t even know there was a difference or an option.  So she then had to delay her trip by a day so she could drive to the local passport headquarters and apply in person for a same day passport BOOK.  This cost her $110 plus expediting fees, gas, food and lodging, not to mention a day lost at the resort.  
When in doubt, pull it out!  
When booking your trip, please please please pull out your passport to verify if it’s a card or a book.  The next step would be to make sure your name matches identically to your travel documents.  Chris, I’m talking to you.  I know your passport reads Mark Christopher, but we all call you Chris.  The TSA agent needs to know this too or you will not be going anywhere.  Yes indeed, you could be denied boarding if your name doesn’t match!  Finally, is it expired?  Some countries require you have at least 6 months until your passport expires in order to visit.  You won’t know the exact details unless you take the time to pull out your passport and take a good look.