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Studies Reveal Health Benefits of Vacations

Take that vacation to lower risk of heart attack and depression, or move near a park for better mental health.

Beautiful Sandy Beaches of Negril Jamaica

Traveling with my family on the beautiful beaches of Negril, Jamaica.

I have been saying this for years!

Underground of the Rose Hall in Jamaica

Wendi, Connor and Payton at the Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay Jamaica.

Recharging our battery!

Martin and Wendi enjoying a beautiful day in Jamaica. Kids are snorkeling and having fun while we relax. Everyone is happy!

We are all built with an “internal battery.” It drives us, excites us and inspires us.  When we live our day to day lives sometimes that passion needs a little recharge.  That is what vacation does for you.  Also, gives you insight and many learning experiences that you can’t find in a book.  Get out and see the world around you.  –Wendi

“If you want to be healthier, take more vacations and live near a large park, according to two separate studies. Vacations are linked to decreased risks of heart attack and depression and even promote brain health, says a study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies with the Global Commission on Aging and U.S. Travel Association. Moving closer to green space improves mental health immediately and is sustained over long periods of time, according to a University of Exeter Medical School study in Britain. “These findings are important for urban planners thinking about introducing new green spaces to towns and cities, suggesting they could provide long-term and sustained benefits for local communities,” the study said.”

This story originally appeared on Fortune

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The Passport Meltdown is Coming & How to Save Yourself

11846621_603834069756538_1223411357202161072_nRemember The Passport Crisis of 2006 & 2007?

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Almost 10 years ago it became a requirement to have a passport.  Which lead to a long processing times for passports.

Guess what? 

All of the passports from the crisis of 2007 will now be expiring in the next 18 months!  And to confound the situation there are some changes with the ability to add visa pages that will force people to apply for passports.

Did you know that 125 million US citizens have passports?

Go find your passports NOW and check the expiration dates.

WHY? Because some countries require passports to be valid for 6 MONTHS beyond their arrival back into the US.

What you need to know:

  1. Two options will be available: Passports will come with either 28 or 52 pages with no difference in cost. Get the 52 pages. You never know when you will come into some money and fill that passport up!
  2. The travel industry is back! That means more people are traveling. Hence longer processing times
  3. Passport cards are wallet-sized passports can only be used for land and sea (NO FLIGHTS!) travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.  Passport cards are smaller and less expensive.  I advise a passport book!
  4. Passports ages are:
    1. 16 yrs and older are adults – passport is valid for 10 years
    2.  15 and under are children – passport is valid for 5 years (yes that includes newborns. If they are breathing they have to be packing a passport!)

Let’s talk money!

  • 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.
  • Expedited service (optional): an additional $60.00 per application.
  • The acceptance or execution fee of $25 is paid to any U.S. Passport Acceptance Agency

******* This is Government stuff y’all- It can & will change  ***************

How to save yourself?

Go & renew or apply for passports now.  

Don’t wait until you feel a vacation “itch” coming

The Passport process is not hard. May take a little preparation but it is so worth it!

Do not miss out on your opportunities to see beautiful places because you are afraid of a passport process!

Wishing you 80° & Palm Trees! — Wendi

What are some of your favorite passport stamps? Share them with us!

Jamaica Mon!

Had to have some Bob Marley and Jerk Chicken

Grenada

Grenada! Who has been there?

Long Live “Road Worker Orange”

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Connor waiting for a flight in Miami.

Family Travel…

A couple of weeks ago we travelled with our family to Jamaica from Houston.  Being a parent I over pack and over think.  My 14 yr old son Connor loves the color orange.  It is just about ridiculous.  So the time came to lay out clothes for our early morning flight, he had all orange clothes set out (notice I was able to switch out the shorts.) I am talking head to toe!  It was late and not worth the argument.

We arrive the IAH airport and the lines are long, people are everywhere.  Multiple check in lines forced us to “divide and conqueror.” Here we go, we will NOT miss this flight.

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Waiting to take off. Have I told you I hate selfies? But had to do the airport check in thing!

I lost Martin (hubby) and I lost Payton (17 yr old daughter). In record time, they were missing.  But not my sweet little “Connor Mon” decked out in full orange.  He was easy to find and always where we needed him to be.  My theory on the “Road Worker Orange,” has changed.

It reminded me of a family that had gone to Disney World with us several years ago.  They all wore Lime green shirts the entire time.  We did not have to look hard to find them. Just look for a cluster of lime green and there they were!

Think about this post the next time you plan to travel to heavily populated areas.  Pick a color that is easily seen or everyone wear close to the same color.  People may look at you funny when you are all together but guess what? You are ALL together.  Not frantically searching for each other. Airports can be weird and stressful.  Kids with phones look down and never know where you have gone.  While they are aimlessly walking thru an airport, you are frantic! Not a good way to start or end a vacation.

 Wishing you 80° & Palm Trees

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Leaving Beaches Negril. It was so early and the camera was fuzzy. My babies were easy to find at all times!

7 Grenadian Expressions Explained

From the Grenada Tourism Offices

I was in Grenada 2 weeks ago and it is truly indescribable. The people are the most friendly of all the islands I have been to. Call me to see Grenada!

I was in Grenada 2 weeks ago and it is truly indescribable. The people are the most friendly of all the islands I have been to. Call me to see Grenada!

Every country has special terms and phrases that are unique to them.  When it comes to the Spice Islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, it is no different.  Every year, our islands are filled with vacationers most of whom are left totally confused by the colloquial expressions, which when coupled with our strong Grenadian accent, becomes even more bewildering.  Due to this, we have created a list of commonly used Grenadian expressions that should help you understand us locals whenever you are here. Feel free to use them at any time.

Tabanka (tah-bank-ah)

Whenever you hear the word ‘tabanka’ used to describe what a person is experiencing, it simply means the state of depression following the breakup of a romantic relationship.
Sentence: When Shelly broke off their relationship, it was obvious that he had a serious case of tabanka.

Lime

If you’re ‘liming’ then you are either hanging out with friends, relaxing or ‘chillaxing’ as others say.  It is not uncommon to hear ‘let’s make a lime.’
Sentence: We decided to go make a lime on Paradise Beach before the start of the Carriacou Parang Festival.

Whine

This is the term used to describe gyrations of the waist in a circular motion most commonly practiced with the sound of soca or calypso music.
Sentence: Upon arrival at the National Stadium, she was amazed to see the way that Grenadians whine whenever runs were scored during England’s Tour of West Indies.

Cabusai (cah-boo-say)

If something is twisted, bent or contains dents, then it is described as cabusai.
Sentence: The box was so cabusai when it arrived, that we decided to call the shipping company to complain.

Sweet Eye

Wendi and Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel

Wendi in Grenada with Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel. She is the Minister for Tourism, civil aviation & culture.

‘Sweet eye’ can be described as a seductive wink used to show affection.  Some persons use it simply as a sign of approval.
Sentence: I knew he wanted to talk when he gave me the ‘sweet eye’ during the ‘Pure Grenada Nutmeg & Spice Cocktail Competition.’

Cheups/Steups

This is the sound made when the tongue is placed between the teeth as an expression of anger or annoyance.
Sentence: After speaking with him about his disrespectful attitude to his supervisor, all he did was steups. It was very rude indeed.

Wah go/Wah say?

Term commonly used to find out how someone is doing in place of the question ‘How are you?’
Question: Wah say?
Response: I’m good.

This list can get quite extensive.  What other Grenadian terms do you know of?

Grenada is one of a kind.

Grenada is one of a kind. It is a great place to kick back and relax!

– See more at: http://puregrenada.com/blog/8-grenadian-expressions-explained/#sthash.04569TKt.dpuf

Have You Seen The New Jamaica?

The main pool at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall. (Photo credit: Playa Resorts & Hotels.)

Two Hyatt hotels announce their new opening dates and you’re invited to explore them.

The openings of Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, after an $80+ million renovation of the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall property, has been pushed back from Nov. 1 to Nov. 23.

The Basics
Hyatt Zilara, with 234 suites, will accommodate adults. Hyatt Ziva, with 387 rooms and suites, will serve couples, groups, and above all, families. Most rooms in these properties in Jamaica have an ocean view. Playa has almost tripled the former Ritz-Carlton’s beach area—there will be swim-out suites, nine restaurants, a staff of more than 1,000, watersports, tennis, a kids’ club, and some innovative firsts.

What Makes These All-Inclusives Different?
“This is not business as usual,” says Froemming, who promised “the first six-star product in the English-speaking Caribbean.” Here’s how he plans to make this resort different:

  • Island Routes personnel will greet arriving guests at the airport, expedite them through Customs, offer them snacks, register them while they’re still at the airport, and get out of the airport in 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes.
  • Zilara/Ziva will have exclusive use of a 100-ft. Island Routes catamaran for family, adults-only, and group cruises.
  • Adult guests will get a free round of golf at the legendary White Witch and Cinnamon Hill golf courses; this offer is good through 2015.
  • Carnivore alert: The restaurants will include the first Brazilian churrascaria on a Caribbean island.
  • Other restaurant news: Froemming aims to keep every restaurant open seven days a week. Evening options also include a one-of-a-kind rooftop Moroccan lounge.
  • “Zilara will have the only spa in the Caribbean that’s on the beach,” says Froemming. “A full-service spa, not just a few massage tables.”
  • Moving beyond the farm-to-table trend, Zilara’s beachfront spa will offer a “Table-to-Table” service whereby couples enjoy late afternoon treatments and then step out onto the sand, where they’ll linger over a candlelit dinner for two under the stars.

Modern and luxurious bathrooms at Rose Hall Zilara. (Photo credit: Playa Resorts & Hotels.)

Introductory Rates
“Travel Agents have as much importance than ever,” says Froemming. “Because our product’s extra value needs to be explained. We are not using price as a sales vehicle.”

This winter, Zilara and Ziva are offering introductory rates: At Zilara, a 480-sq.-ft. suite with a king bed, fully stocked bar, whirlpool bath, and terrace will range from about $480 to $540 per couple. At Ziva, a 493-sq.-ft. room will cost approximately $450 to $480 per couple, or $616 to $672 for a family of four. Rates include taxes and gratuities, and children under 3 stay free.

For more information, call Wendi 281-377-3488 x 101 or email Wendi@AiTravelHut.com

 

 

Beaches Resorts

DSC_0205Beaches Resorts in the Turks and Caicos Islands

I have been to many resorts and felt the warmth of the island people and locals.  I just got back from Beaches Turks and Caicos. All I can say is WOW! The pristine beaches were some of the best I have ever seen.

Sandals and Beaches resorts owner Butch Stewart values the  Travel Agents.  I don’t know of any other resort that would Charter flights for 3 days to make sure the agents know what they are selling to their clients.  I was with 140 other agents getting first hand knowledge of these wonderful resorts. We were on 1 of 9 of these chartered flights from all over the US. Mr. Stewart has educates Travel Agents far more than any webinar or workshop ever could.  He spends $80M dollars a year on advertising and at the bottom says, “Call your Travel Agent.” So my question to you is… If you have never used a Travel Agent, what is holding you back? My expert advise is waiting for you. And know that advise doesn’t come with a price! 🙂

I have heard people say that Beaches is for kids. We spoke with several couples who were there on their honeymoon and they were very impressed with the inclusion and service. I have to say, my “husband, man child” was with me and he had a total blast!  Don’t count the Beaches Turks and Caicos out if you are looking for a couples getaway.  A destination wedding at this resort would make everyone happy!

If you are thinking about a Sandals or Beaches vacation or Destination Wedding I want to be your Vacation Consultant.  As a Certified Sandals Specialist, I am here to work with you, your friends and family to make sure everyone is getting the room category they are wanting.  These resorts have at least 10+ categories at each resort.  Let me explain to you the differences to ensure your fabulous getaway in the room and location that you desire.

Wishing you Calm Seas and Palm Trees!

The next 2 post will talk about the Sandals Resorts in the Bahamas.  You won’t want to miss it!

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