Tantalizing Tahiti

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Tahiti.

What comes to mind when you hear someone say Tahiti? Do you smell floral scents? Do you see pure white sand beaches? Do you see endless shades of blue water lagoons? Do you think overwater bungalows? Do you imagine lush green tropics? All of these things embody Tahiti, but Tahiti is only one island in French Polynesia. People don’t realize the region is not Tahiti. Tahiti happens to be the largest island in the Societal Islands which are the ones most tourists visit. It is also the most populated by the Tahitians and is home to the main gateway of entry to this beautiful South Pacific escape.


Tahiti is more than a connection point.

I would encourage travelers to consider 1 to 3 nights on this island to enjoy everything the main island has to offer. I recommend you put a visit here prior to venturing off to the other islands and build your experience with that amazing crescendo at the overwater bungalows to punctuate the end of your trip!

Tahiti has much to offer from the waterfalls, to the beaches, to the capital city of Papeete. Take a guided tour or the islands beautiful, bountiful countryside. I enjoyed stopping at Fautau Waterfalls. It was a pleasant hike in to see the falls from where the car parked, but that was half of the adventure. Then you emerge from the forest to see the cascading water in the midst of this deep tropical background. It’s especially spectacular if you go during rainy season as even more water cascades over the cliff. Just remember the insect repellent.

Are you more of a history buff? A reader of books? Then you might like to take the tour to visit the home of James Norman Hall author of Mutiny on the Bounty. It is incredible to see the preserved history in this home and learn more about a man who lived his life to the fullest. It’s a true hidden gem.

If it is culture you are after, then look no further. Papeete, herself, is a multicultural hub of activity with busy boulevards and a bustling harbor. The market, or Le Marche, is the perfect spot to pick up those sought after Tahitian gifts and souvenirs from vanilla beans, to monoi oil, to the colorful pareos. A pareo, a large scarf with a multitude of wearing options, is a must have for any woman visiting the islands. I even had the opportunity during my stay to create my own oil. Then as evening descends upon the city be sure to take part in the local cuisine by visiting the food trucks or better known on the island as Roulottes. They can be found set up almost every night and offer a wide variety of cuisines. I know I had to start with seafood and then couldn’t resist ending my evening with a crepe.

While often overlooked by travelers for her more famous counterparts in the outer islands, like Bora Bora, you can see she is not a place to be missed. Tahiti is so much more than an overnight stop before your flight home. Take time to see everything this island has to offer beyond your arrival and departure at the airport.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslTantalizing Tahiti
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Don’t Leave Home Without It

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American Express owns this slogan, and with all due respect I wouldn’t think of infringing on their right to use it. This is not about credit cards though, but about what you need to take with you on an airplane to be the most comfortable and make your time pass quickly.

Flying on an airplane can give you the feeling of being a sardine, even if you are in Business or First Class. Preparing ahead for a flight is mandatory to have the best experience and once you have it down, you won’t be second guessing yourself about what to pack. Here are my three top absolutely necessary items to take on a flight; whether it is 1 hour or 5 hours or even 15 hours.

1. A Pashmina
For me, this is the Number One item on the Don’t Leave Home Without It List. About five years ago before traveling to China I realized I needed something to keep me warm on airplanes and motor coaches. My research led me to Pashmina and the hunt for the perfect one that would meet my needs for warmth and fashion accessory. A Pashmina is a scarf or shawl but not just any scarf or shawl. Pashminas are made from the finest grade of cashmere wool, from certain goats raised in the Himalayas. The wool is the world’s finest and provides the most luxurious warmth. A Pashmina Scarf is a luxury fashion statement, and can be added to a dress with spaghetti straps or over jeans. Versatility makes it essential for travel on planes, trains, and automobiles.

Airplanes can be very cold, an extra layer of warmth is usually required to stay comfortable. Blankets distributed on the plane are not only limited, but the cleanliness is questionable. Ick! Drape a pashmina over your shoulders and you will increase your warmth immediately, If my Pashmina could talk it would tell you of travel to China, Thailand, Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Las Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, Napa, and more.

2. Something To Do
This Don’t Leave Home Without It item can be different for each travel. Some people enjoy doing a craft and others would rather read. Reading (and sleeping) are my preferred way to pass the time. The graphic represents my personal choice of an electronic device, such as a Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook or even a tablet such as an ipad. It can help you avoid speaking to a boring seat mate (smile). The variety of topics it holds will not only keep you interested, but also lighten your load. Gone are the days when you take a vacation and have to pack a stack of books. They will even hold your magazine subscriptions. In a word, they are WONDERFUL! If you haven’t moved to the electronic reader, what are you waiting for? One argument I hear is that you can’t share the book with your friends and that is absolutely right. But, how many books have you carried with you and left on the ship, at the resort or hotel room because packing a book takes up room for those purchases you made during “Retail Therapy”.

3. Loose Fitting Shoes
The final Don’t Leave Home Without It is essential for comfort, especially if flying on long flights. Clogs are a great choice but my favorite shoes to fly in are Crocs, UGLY, yes, but so simple to take off and put on again. The TSA is slowly moving away from the requirement to remove your shoes, but it is still there at this time. TSA Pre-check is a new system that allows you to keep your shoes and jackets on and allows you to leave your 1 quart bag in your luggage. It’s a hit or miss system for everyone except the people who pay for the privilege of receiving TSA pre-check. This doesn’t even mean you will always receive it, sometimes you may have to go through the regular line at their whim. The bottom line is always be prepared to remove your shoes just in case.

If you have read to this point, the you receive a BONUS. One more essential for carry on bags.

4. Noise Cancelling Headphones
The BONUS Don’t Leave Home Without It not only reduces or eliminates cabin noise, it also gives better sound for the inflight movie or music when plugged into the airplane’s sound system. There are a variety of brands and range of prices to choose from. Google “Noise Cancelling Headphones” do your homework.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think is most important to have on a plane ride for COMFORT! Maybe you need to have a video game, chocolate chip cookies, earplugs or eye shades. Let us know your thoughts.


Jan Scheyer-Personally Yours Travel by Jan, Your Travel Advisor in Greater Cincinnati.

I am Jan Scheyer and I am a connoisseur of history. Like a great author who can bring history to life through words, I do this through travel. I plan travel experiences for people who want to connect with the past and bring it to life. If you love history, let me help you plan travel experiences in a way that you’ll never forget. I will illuminate options you’ve never considered and plan every last detail so that you can have an experience that you’ve only dreamed (or read) about.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Jan ScheyerDon’t Leave Home Without It
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My Afternoon in NYC

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New York–

“The city that never sleeps”. It’s a bucket list place to visit for almost anyone. Having landed myself on the other side of the waterway from this bustling metropolis, I finally had a chance to be a bit of a tourist for the day. My older two were in visiting and had a short list, okay long list, of sights they wanted to tick off. With time being limited we did what we could on a quite cold winter’s day in January.

We started the day off with the train ride into the city to meet girlfriends of mine in Chelsea for lunch. The city itself is divided into many different neighborhoods like Chelsea, Greenwich, Soho, and the Financial District where you find Wall Street. In addition, it is made up of 5 boroughs with Manhattan being one of the most famed. From the train, we decided to hoof the 10 blocks to the Japanese restaurant. The kids wanted to walk everywhere.

New York is truly a city of energy that is best felt on the streets.

After a delightful lunch of sushi and catching up with friends we headed off with our walking directions to check off the biggest priority– the Empire State Building.

To me, the Empire State Building exudes romance. Having a prime role in two of my favorite romance movies, “An Affair To Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle”, I was thrilled to finally be going up to the observatory decks. So many films feature NYC and this iconic building that stands tall in the midst of it. We timed our visit just as the sun was beginning to set over the city, and it was quite magical. I thought I would be terrified being so high. We did go all the way to the 102nd, but it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, my movies flashed before my eyes and I found myself wishing to meet someone atop of these floors.


As night descended we moved on our trek to Rockefeller Center to see the famous gigantic Christmas tree. We took our mandated photos and continued on to Times Square. The girls were loving it with all its lights and big screens as they took photo upon photo for their social media stories. My son, however, was not as enamored. He said, “It’s not even a square and much smaller than it appears on screen.” After hitting these 3 major points of attraction, we had a couple of must see locations left, but at this point our feet had grown quite tired and we were getting hungry for dinner. Time for the subway! We took the subway to 5th Avenue to see Tiffany’s of course. With 2 girl, where did you think they wanted to go? And of course, another place featured in an all-time classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. After Tiffany’s we made a turn around the corner to make a pass by Trump Tower. You couldn’t walk directly in front of it, but we crossed to the other side to get a picture. Police and camera men were everywhere on the block. After our photo was captured, we headed back to the subway only to see a long black stretch limo. Curiously we wondered what famous person we had just passed.

The afternoon/evening concluded with a quick comfort meal of Italian at Barillas just a couple of blocks down from Penn Station. It was an incredible day spent exploring the city and braving the cold winter temps. Exhausted, we plopped ourselves on the train and started planning the next visits excursions. One can never see all or it in one trip.  That is why we return again.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslMy Afternoon in NYC
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Whatever Floats Your Boat-River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising

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While most people have taken a cruise vacation, they are mostly familiar with the traditional and very popular mass market ocean cruises. However, river cruising is quickly gaining popularity and is becoming a hot trend in vacation travel. If you think you do not like cruising – or you’re ready for a different kind of cruise experience- read on and learn some of the basic differences between river and ocean cruising. See which one floats your boat!

SIZE/ PASSENGERS/CABINS
Ocean:
Mass market cruise lines carry anywhere from 2000 passengers to over 6,000 passengers. Multiple cabin categories and cabin sizes from small interior cabins (no window) to 2-story loft suites.
River: Luxury lines carry 90 to 140 passengers. Fairly small cabins – 140 square feet cabins with porthole windows to 200 square feet suites with full sit-out balconies.

DESTINATIONS
Ocean: Caribbean islands, Hawaiian islands, Alaska, the Mediterranean, Australia, South Pacific, Asia, South America, Antarctica…. just about anywhere in the world!
River: Mostly Europe – Inland cities and towns along rivers such as the Rhine and Danube – big cities such as Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest to small villages such as Bergerac and St. Emillion in France; Southeast Asia, China, and India itineraries are also offered by several river cruise lines.

EXCURSIONS
Ocean: Wide range of excursions from dolphin swims, zip lining, snorkeling in the Caribbean to whale watching and salmon bakes and train rides in Alaska.
River: Small-scale walking tours with individual headsets that allow everyone to hear the local guides. Excursions focus on sightseeing, history, and culture of the area.

DINING
Ocean: Multiple dining venues; many types of cuisine; multiple seating times. You may or may not get to know your waitstaff depending on your dining preferences. Relaxed dress code. Room service.
River: One main dining room and one or two smaller venues. One seating time period for each meal. No room service. Seating is open seating. Table sizes vary, so you can sit with your own traveling companion at a table for two or with a group at a table for 10. Dress code is relaxed. Most people dress casual-dressy dinner attire. Wait staff is very attentive. Service is personable and genuine.

ENTERTAINMENT
Ocean: Night clubs, Broadway shows, variety shows, comedians, concerts, casinos, pubs.
River: pianist in lounge, local talent such including singers and classical musicians

AMENITIES
Ocean: Water slides, cigar bars, ice rinks, 4-D cinemas, rock climbing, zip-lining, bowling, full service spas.
River: Libraries, sundecks, small fitness centers, 24-hour coffee bars, free Wi-Fi. And not a kids’ play area in sight.

PRICE INCLUSIONS
Ocean: Cabin, meals in main dining areas and cafes and a few other venues, tap water, coffee, tea…and on-board entertainment.
River: All meals, beer, wine, soda, specialty coffees and teas, bottled water. Some lines include liquor, transfers, and gratuities. Also included on all river cruises are the daily sightseeing excursions in each port. AmaWaterways even has their own bicycles for guests to use in port.

SO, WHO MIGHT LIKE TO RIVER CRUISE?
Those who enjoy sightseeing, culture, art, history and unique experiences.

Those who been there, done that on ocean cruises and want a different type of experience.

Those who prefer a slower pace and calmer experience without the glitz, non-stop action found on many ocean cruises.

Those who enjoy a luxury, cultural experience without having to pack and unpack every couple of days as on an escorted bus tour.
Those who like phenomenal service and attention. With small group sizes, the river cruise staff are able to completely cater to the guests and truly aim to please. The staff become friends!

Those who enjoy meeting others and making friends. You can certainly keep to yourself, but when there are only 100 or so passengers on board, it is very easy to meet others and make new friends – should you want to! River cruising is especially wonderful for solo travelers!

WHAT ABOUT KIDS?
Generally river cruising appeals to an older clientele. There are no organized kids programs or night life for teens on most ships. However, starting in 206, Disney has partnered with Ama Waterways cruise line and is European river cruising vacations. This may be just the ticket for your family. With the Disney touch, the river cruising experience will be much more family friendly.

JUST REMEMBER:
Don’t wait till the last minute! With ocean cruising you may find a great deal if you wait till the last minute. That won’t be the case for river cruises. These ships are small and fill up very quickly! If you want to take a cruise next summer, put down a deposit now…or at least by January. If you wait too long, you may find your desired itinerary and ship already booked up.


Anjana Duff is the owner of Travel Connection, a boutique travel agency specializing in tropical escapes and worldly adventures.

She creates customized vacation packages for individuals and groups. With her expertise, clients can relax before the vacation even begins. They are able to focus on what is truly important – connecting with their favorite people in their favorite places.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Anjana DuffWhatever Floats Your Boat-River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising
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7 Reasons You Should Use A Travel Expert

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Life today seems automatic. With the advances in technology many of life’s chores have become automated. Cars are built by machines, phones are answered by computer generated voices that can respond to our voices, and your very own phones are automated. The human has been taken out of everything and everyone seems to be jumping on the band wagon to do it yourself. The travel industry is not immune to this electronic trend with the birth of the online travel agency. The birth of them along with the vast information now available on the world wide web has led many individuals ready to escape believe that travel agents, now preferred to be called travel advisors or consultants, have gone wayside. While searching for destinations, hotels, flights, and more has become easily accessible, it is important to understand that navigating the vast amount of options available for a single destination without an advisor or consultant is difficult at best, and often results in a disastrous vacation.

Below you will find the top seven reasons why you should work with a travel expert.

Access to Suppliers

Yes, it’s true the internet is amazing and has tons of information at your fingers’ disposal. More information than you could consume in a lifetime. That said, it’s guaranteed that any travel expert will have direct access and relationship with the suppliers no matter the mode of travel. It’s a guarantee, especially for an expert who specializes in a specific type of client, travel or destination, that they will have advance notice or access to things not on the websites or that have not been updated yet. As such, experts that get to know their clients can keep a watch list for when these specials become available and notify you in advance based on your travel preferences.

However, while access to the suppliers is great, it is important to realize that the value of an expert goes well beyond our initial search for the right fit for you. Indeed, any one of the benefits on the list below would be enough to justify hiring an expert. Put all of them together, and you’ve got a precious gem

Savings? Hold up

The main excuse for going without a travel expert is that doing so will save money. Indeed, you may find a cheap bargain online and assume you are “to the good” keeping money in your pocket by not paying a consultants’ fee. It is certainly possible a good vacation can be had by taking things into your own hands, it has often proved to be not the case with clients calling after the fact wanting an expert to help fix the bad situation they got themselves into. Generally, an expert will take a very small percentage as an upfront fee to cover time, research, and intellectual property while receiving most of their compensation from supplier commissions which add no additional cost to your vacation package, only the value of the guidance and care you will receive. Not to mention experts often have access to additional amenities or can make special requests that you can’t do online yourself.

All in all, you probably won’t save a whole lot of money by booking your vacation yourself without an agent, and it’s likely that you’ll end up paying more or having less, as you won’t have an expert around to help you secure the best value for your budget.

Connections

While some of us wilt when it comes to asking for extras, travel experts are trained in the art of building relationships. Our travels and attendance at industry events lets them build one on one relationships directly with the tourism boards, hotels, cruises, tour operators, and more. Their belief in cultivating an environment rich on knowledge and building direct contacts in their areas of expertise only deepens their benefit of getting you the best value and experience for your dollar. All in all, you can rely on a consultant to navigate the sea of options out there to secure you the best value and experience.

Reliability

While there is no 100% guarantee that an agent won’t be what they advertise, it is highly unlikely. Why? Travel agencies and their advisors pursue the best outcome for their clients, not for themselves, due to various seller of license requirements among states and error and omission insurance requirements. The travel industry has predominantly built on word of mouth and referrals. And, we all know how one bad review can ruin a reputation. Therefore, you can count that most experts are working on your behalf to provide you an experience you will never forget.

Paperwork

Did you know all vacation packages come with documents? Did you also know, unless you hire a travel expert, you will be doomed to figure out exactly what you need to print and have for your travel destination? Do you need a passport? Are visas required? Do I need proof of marriage? Does the destination have travel alerts? These are all questions that your travel expert will be on top of before you travel to make sure you have the right items in hand. Travel experts will take the time to answer questions and go over any special instructions or needs for your vacation package so there are no surprises. Showing up to the airport or arriving in your destination without the necessary paperwork will certainly leave a bad taste in your mouth and often ruin your entire trip.

Relationships

Travel advisors make it their business to develop and cultivate a robust professional network. We already mentioned their connection with suppliers, but it goes beyond. They cultivate within their own competitors, developing relationships with other travel experts and agency owners. Using the depth of their network to increase their base knowledge, but the good ones will actually refer you out to one of their connections if they feel you would be better served by another expert. The best experts have built a network of industry partners to fill in the spaces so they have the best resources for all destinations only a call or email away.

Advice

Last but certainly not least, a travel expert provides a wealth of advice vital to the vacation experience. Each client and each vacation experience is unique. An advisor will use their knowledge, experiences, past client feedback, and industry relations to build you the ideal escape. The advice begins from the initial contact, through the building of the package, suggestions while in destination, and through follow-up upon your return. The best advising and the most important bonus of using an expert, the one they hope you never have to use, is advice in a crisis. They are there to weather any storm, mishap, or worse when it comes to your vacation.

As you can see, it’s always advantageous for you to work with a travel expert. With an expert you have a human who cares to turn to.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa Rossmeissl7 Reasons You Should Use A Travel Expert
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