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Dominican Republic

Do’s and Don’ts for Planning a Honeymoon

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You’re probably knee deep in wedding plans, but you should also turn your attention to planning a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon. Here are some do’s and don’ts for planning your first trip as a married couple:

Don’t rush: Planning for a wedding is an incredibly stressful experience. Between booking the venue, and the DJ, ordering the food, sending out all the invites, getting the dresses and tuxes, and setting up tables, you can become so stressed from the wedding that you might want to rush straight into the honeymoon for a much-needed break. This causes couples to often plan their honeymoons so they can hop on the plane out right after the wedding ends. Instead, try to slow down and take your time. You don’t have to leave right when your wedding ends; you could wait weeks or even months afterwards until the time is just right for you.

Do ask for advice: It can be tempted to take a DIY-approach to your honeymoon. After handling all of the other people you had to rely on for the wedding – the bridesmaids, groomsmen, caterers, and even the guests – you might want to just take a step back and rely on nothing but your partner and a Google search. While this could work, you might find yourself benefitting more by asking other people for tips. Your friends and family might have insider info from traveling to the same places you’re considering, and travel agents can remove a lot of the stress from your planning, leaving more room to enjoy the vacation.

Don’t forget important documents: You might be so focused on things like the hotel, the location, and the activities of your honeymoon that you forget important things such as insurance cards, identification, tickets, or any travel documents you might need. Keep everything in check, easy to access and organized. You don’t want to miss a flight because you’re fumbling around for your license or shell up a large sum of cash because you didn’t get any proper travel insurance policy.

Do look for deals: Creating a budget and staying with it is important for any trip, including a honeymoon. Weddings are expensive, so you want to make sure you don’t overdo it for the honeymoon. Look for special deals and accommodations that hotels and flights offer for people on a honeymoon, and even finding coupons for local restaurants wherever you’re traveling could cut back on some expenses.

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Reason to stay at a Secrets Resort

There are so many destinations to choose from around the world where you can go, but there are several reasons why you should book your next vacation at one of the romantic retreats of Secrets Resorts & Spas:

Location, location, location: There are many Secrets Resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, so you can find the perfect destination for your vacation. For example, you can stay at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, where you can relax on their white-sand beaches and look out at the beautiful, clear waters of Akumal. Or stay at Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, where you can enjoy the Caribbean Sea while walking along their exclusive Juanillo Beach. So many choices!

Adults-only: Vacationing with the family can be great, but let’s face it, we all need our alone adult time and Secrets provides that adult-only experience. No kids running under foot here with their sticky fingers. It’s all about being a grown up and enjoying a sophisticated vacation.

Amenities:  Secrets Resorts provides some of the best pampering around, whether you choose a massage, facial, or body wrap, this is the place where the stress of work and home life can literally disappear from your fingertips. You also have access to a 24-hour concierge, room service, and gourmet dining.

Activities: An adults-only Resorts experience isn’t just about rest and relaxation. There’s plenty to do at all of the locations, including beach volleyball, dance classes, water sports, scuba and snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, adventure tours, nightly theater and outdoor entertainment and so much more.

All-inclusive: And last, but definitely not least, when it comes to pricing, there are no ‘secrets’ here. These resorts are all-inclusive (except for a few select activities) so there won’t be any surprises on your bill. This includes free Wi-Fi, unlimited international and domestic top-shelf spirits, unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks, 24-hour room and concierge services, pool and beach wait service, daily refreshed mini-bar with soft drinks, juice, bottled water and beer, activities and entertainment and, of course taxes and gratuities.

If Secrets Resorts sound like the perfect destination for you and your loved one, contact your travel agent.

Travel Specialist Group

4 Basic Mistakes Made When Planning a Honeymoon

Planning a honeymoon is supposed to be an exciting time in your life, but with so much going on around you, it’s easy to make some basic mistakes. Here are four of them that you should be careful of when planning:

Bad timing: You want a quiet time on the beach with your honey now that the festivities are over, but unfortunately you’ve planned your honeymoon smack in the middle of spring break season. Maybe your hotel is hosting a children’s dance show and the pool is busy with youngsters. Timing is everything and knowing the right and the wrong time to travel is important when planning a honeymoon. Don’t think it matters? Try planning a honeymoon right in the middle of hurricane season.

Leaving the next day: Traditionally, the wedding is held, the rice is thrown and the happy couple leaves the next day for the perfect honeymoon. It doesn’t have to be that way. You’re probably exhausted from all the planning and the partying and might even be a little cranky. If you plan your honeymoon for a few days later or even a week later, you’ll have some time to relax, pack accordingly and get ready for some fun. It’s okay to break from tradition. This is your honeymoon and you don’t want to be so tired that you won’t enjoy it.

Doing too much: Trying to jam too much into a short honeymoon can leave you even more exhausted when you get home. Instead, try to pick a few things you know you want to see or do while you’re on your trip and balance it with some much deserve rest and relaxation. If you really like the destination, you can always make a return trip for your first anniversary.

Splurging: Spending a lot of money on your honeymoon sounds logical, because after all your honeymoon is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. So many couples will often blow their budgets on the trip for that very reason. Not the best thing to do. If your finances will take a hit, or if you’ll put a dent into your budget that doesn’t leave you room for other things you want to do as a couple or plans you have, then consider a smaller version of your honeymoon. If you’ve always dreamed of a two-week honeymoon to Fiji, then consider one-week instead and save the rest of the money for other day-to-day expenses if you need them.

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Fun things to pack on your honeymoon

Packing for your honeymoon might seem easy – pack a bunch of clothes and you’re ready to go. Not quite. Before you close that suitcase, consider packing a few fun things just for the special occasion:

Travel games: Traveling can take a lot of time and there can be a lot of down time, so bring some fun mini versions of games to do on the plane or in the car. Scrabble, hangman, trivia games and even a deck of cards can help to pass the time away and fit in your travel bag very easily.

A surprise gift: What a great way to start your honeymoon than with a surprise giftyou’re your loved one (or more if you are feeling generous). One couple continues this tradition each time they go away and they’ve been married for more than 25 years. A little waterproof GoPro-style camera would be fun for the beach or for taking photos of activities you are participating in. Young couples use them on cruises and while they are sailing, snorkeling and on water slides, etc.

Sporty fun: If you and your honey are going to take any excursions or lessons, such as scuba diving or tennis, make sure to pack what you need for the fun. Before you leave for your trip, make sure that your resort or tour operator doesn’t provide your equipment before you fill your suitcase. If however, you need to bring extra gear – even sneakers or special hiking boots – be sure to pack them to you can get in on the fun.

Passion play: Let’s get right to it. Your honeymoon is all about fun in the sun (or snow depending on where you go), but it’s also about passion and sex. So why not bring some fun adult toys to get the fun going? Make sure you bring lubricant and condoms if you are not looking to get pregnant on your honeymoon. Then you can also bring some fun sexy card games or other accessories to enhance your bedroom excitement. Think about packing some sexy lingerie or underwear too. You never know where the night will take you!

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Best Group Travel Destinations

There’s nothing like enjoying a vacation with a bunch of your closest friends, or another family, or a few other couples. With a group, you are not only sharing some memories with your besties, but you’re also sharing some travel benefits as well, including:

  • Saving money: The more people you bring, the more of a discount you can get at various resorts. You can also reduce the cost of tour tickets, accommodations, and even food.
  • Safety: There’s safety in numbers and traveling with others will provide you with some extra protection. There is always someone who can watch your items while you jump in the beach or keep an eye on the kids, while the adults enjoy an off-island excursion.
  • Reducing stress: Going on a trip takes a lot of planning and doing, so the more people who are going, the more the responsibilities can be divvied up. One person can handle the itinerary, while another one books the airfare, etc.

Where are some great travel destinations for groups? Well, to be honest, any place can be a great group travel destination, but there are some that are just primed and ready for you and your closest buddies.

Las Vegas, Nevada: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, true, but what happens here is perfect for you and your friends. The energy in the city is crazy and there are plenty of affordable hotel accommodations where you can divide the cost with your friends. Go to the casinos, see a show or explore hit the nightlife at Fremont Street in downtown Vegas. Your money can go far here, unless you plunk it all down on a pair of aces.

Punta Cana: Part of the Dominican Republic, is a great place for the spring break crowd. Take your friends and go fishing, partying, swimming with sharks, and so much more.

Orlando: The best part about Orlando, Florida is that there is something for everyone, from the wee little ones to the families and for the couples and the singles. There’s everything from amusement parks, clubs, restaurants, and City Walk and Orlando knows how to treat its groups.

Miami: Close by to Orlando is one of the best destinations for groups, and that’s Miami. Like Orlando, there’s so much to do and see, including wine and art festivals, beaches to relax on, and a great nightlife scene.

Before you go anywhere, tell your travel agent that you’re traveling in a group and you’re looking for group discounts.

Travel Specialist Group

Affordable Destination Wedding Locations

Your love for each other is huge, but your budget for the wedding of your dreams is not. That doesn’t mean that you need to give up your dream of a destination wedding for a hot dogs and hamburgers outdoor wedding. However, it does mean that you need to find a destination that’s won’t leave you with an empty piggy bank for your honeymoon.

Dominican Republic: From the beautiful beaches of Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, to the crystal blue waters of Juanillo Beach and the tranquility of Playa Bayahibe, the Dominican Republic is a great destination for your wedding. The numerous all-inclusive resorts provide money-saving options when finding a location for your big day.

Costa Rica: South of the United States lies one of the most beautiful places in the world. Costa Rica, and its beautiful white sandy beaches and parkland, make for the perfect backdrop to your ceremony. Your guests can lounge at Panama Beach, Playa Hermosa, Playa Grande, Pan de Azucar, Playa Flamingo and Playas del Coco beaches. They can explore Guanacaste, a town that’s home to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, a 34,800-acre home to over 300 species of birds as well as cougars, monkeys, and kinkajous. If they are the more adventurous type, they can explore the Guanacaste’s Corobici River or the bat caves of Barra Honda. In addition to having numerous all-inclusive resorts to choose from, Costa Rica is centrally located to Juan Santamaría International Airport, making it both location perfect and picture perfect.

Jamaica: The U.S. World & News Report recently named Jamaica as the #1 most affordable wedding destination. Jamaica is the land of sugar cane, coffee and limestone, and all-inclusive resorts, such as the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa that are looking to give a financial break to the soon-to-be happily married couple. Jamaica is the third-largest island of the Caribbean, has beautiful white sandy beaches, such as Seven Miles Beach and Cosmos Beach, tropical weather, delicious food, and a wide variety of fun activities and entertainment.

A destination wedding can definitely be a budget buster, depending on your destination and the bells and whistles you choose to put on your bill. But a destination wedding can also significantly cut the cost of your big day because resorts will often provide discounts for a  wedding party because of the extended stay or because of the amount of rooms you have booked.

In addition, all-inclusive resorts provide photographers, music and other components of a wedding in their price, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Travel Specialist Group

Steps to a Better River Cruise

River cruising is fast becoming a popular way of cruising, but it’s still pretty new to many travelers who are used to vacationing on bigger ocean liners. So if you’ve finally booked your river cruise, how can you make it the best trip ever?

Location, location, location: When it comes to locations, even though Europe is the leading choice for river cruises, there are also cruising options in Asia, Africa and India as well as in the United States. Fearful about taking a cruise overseas? There are river cruises in the United States. The American Queen rides down the lower and upper Mississippi rivers.

Plan ahead: Your vacation should start with some research. The more you know about river cruises, the better. You’ll know when you find a sale and what activities are available.

Pick the right cruise: Which one is best for you depends on a variety of factors, including budget as well as your personality. You can take a regular river cruise or choose one with a theme on the American Queen Steamboat that focus on music, history, politics, wine and liquors and even Mark Twain.

Say hi: River ships carry fewer passengers and are typically on a smaller boat, compared to luxury cruise liners. Less people mean more of a chance of meeting others who you can enjoy the ride with. Whether you share a dinner, drinks on the deck or an off-the-boat excursion, it all starts with saying hi to your neighbors.

Get off the boat: Yes, you’re on a riverboat excursion, but you’ll really enjoy getting off the boat to explore the towns. You can explore local museums and churches, take culinary classes or enjoy any other activity.

Buy a guidebook: Learn about the places you are visiting and what you can expect at each port. Then, let the guides teach you even more.

Use a travel agent: This is especially important if you are a first-time river boater. A professional travel agent can help you to find the right cruise in your budget, set up your activities and make sure you have all of your tickets and transfers. A travel agent can also help you to book your plane reservations and anything else you might need.

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Things You Need To Know When Planning a Destination Wedding

Congratulations! You’re getting married and you always dreamed of having a wedding far away from home, perhaps on a remote island or at an adventure park. Wherever you dreamed of saying your ‘I Do’s, there are things you should know when planning for your big day.

 

  1. Start early: Some popular destinations can book up in advance. Plus, you should spare some time to visit the destination of your choice.
  2. It’s not as expensive as you think: According to The Knot magazine, most couples spend an average of $30,000 on a local’ wedding. A destination wedding with a small circle of your closest friends and family can cost a fraction of that total.
  3. Think about your budget: While it can cost less than a traditional local wedding, you still need to have the funds without depleting your bank account. Decide what’s most important to you as a couple.
  4. Keep your guests in mind: Are you having children attend? Then pick a kid-friendly destination. Want your elderly Aunt Lola to attend, but she struggles with walking? Make sure that your destination is accessible for her.
  5. Location, location, location: Your destination wedding really comes down to the location that you picked. Do not pick a destination because Aunt Lola will be happy or because she told you that she always saw you getting married there. Pick a destination that you both want and that means something to you, whether it’s romantic Tuscany, the beautiful Hawaiian islands or the cold Swiss Alps.
  6. Visit your destination: Don’t take someone else’s word for the destination you want. Go visit it yourself, even if you’ve been there before. You should meet with the vendors, including the photographer, and you’ll want to see the venue at least one more time. Make sure you try the food while you are there too.
  7. Check the paperwork: Depending on your location, you may need special permits for your wedding. Some may take time to get, so give yourself plenty of time to get everything you need.
  8. Use a travel agent: A travel agent can help you plan your wedding from far away. They are more familiar with destinations and local customs and can make sure that your big day is just perfect. They can talk to your vendors, help you to book your reservations and make your day less stressful.
  9. Plan the honeymoon: Planning a wedding is great, but make sure you spend just as much time planning the honeymoon.
  10. Relax: It takes a lot to plan a wedding, especially one that is hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Make sure you spend time relaxing before the festivities and be sure you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

Travel Specialist Group

Best Destination Wedding Locations and Why


The best location to get married is the one that means the most to you and your loved one. Maybe it’s an island where you first said ‘I love you’. Maybe it’s in a country that’s part of your heritage. Or, maybe it’s just a destination that you always dreamed about because it just seems so romantic. Whatever it is, the destination you choose should be the one where you want to say your vows enjoy your big day. Need a few recommendations?

Portugal: With its crystal clear waters, beautiful landmarks and high-towering cliffs, Portugal is one of the most beautiful places in the world and makes an ideal wedding destination. Its city of Algarve is known for its many beaches and Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture in Portugal. Portugal is known for its castles including Castle of the Moors, a hilltop medieval castle where you can say your I Do’s.

Italy: Any part of Italy makes a great destination wedding because marrying in Italy is considered one of the most romantic ways to get married. Singer John Legend tied the knot with his wife Chrissy Teigen in Lake Como, known for its deep-blue waters and rugged, forested foothills of the Alps. Of course, there are the rolling hills of Tuscany where you can get married in Florence or Siena or at any one of the hilltop castles, such as the Sala Rossa of Florence, the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena.

Ireland: Speaking of castles, Ireland also makes a great wedding destination site with its more than 30,000 castles across the country, including the 400-acre Dromoland, where you can take a romantic boat ride before you exchange your vows. St. Patrick’s Cathedral located in Dublin is a holy site is created in 1191. The Botanic Gardens, established in 1828, makes a beautiful backdrop to say your vows and, of course, there’s the romantic famous Blarney Castle and sharing an upside down kiss on the Blarney Stone.

Before you plan your wedding keep in mind that, just like in the United States, you need to complete certain paperwork in each country in order to say your ‘I Do’s’ to be considered legal. Check the country’s embassy website or search “getting married in ‘fill-in-the-country’” to find out exactly what you need to do.

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Kid Friendly destinations


If you’re planning a family trip, there are many places across the globe that are kid-friendly. Of course, the popular Mickey Mouse amusement parks are are the top of the list. Disney’s parks cater to your little ones with kid-friendly accommodations, food and activities. Entire books have been written on bringing your kids to the happiest place on Earth, but what other destinations as fun for kids?

Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia Playa Bávaro: Located in the Dominican Republic, this is an all-inclusive family resort that caters to guests of every age. Kids will enjoy the Candyman at check-in as well as games and magic tricks. There’s a Kidsclub and a Teens Club. Bahia Scouts is an entire area designed just for kids, including a nature club and their very own water park.

National Parks: Yellowstone is just one example of a national park in the United States that is perfect for children to see. The National Parks Passport Program also offers a great way for children and families to learn more about each destination and fill their National Parks Passport with stamps. The National Park Service website has a map where you can select the state you live in or want to visit and see a list of parks that are available. For example, in New York you can visit an African Burial Ground, the homes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt as well as the home of Martin Van Buren the Statue of Liberty. These are all designated national parks.

Hard Rock Cancun: Mexican city really is kid-friendly, and so is the Hard Rock Cancun. They offer several packages that parents can choose, depending on the age of the child up to 12 years old. In the Ultimate Playtime Packages, parents of babies up to 18 months old will receive a complimentary toy kit, an in-room crib and highchair, and an electric sterilization machine. The resort also provides Gerber food and cereal as well as 36 diapers and wipes per child. Older children receive a complimentary toy kit and a child-sized robe and slippers. The Hard Rock Cancun offers a Little Big Club, an interactive experience where children are dancing, singing and playing with their favorite characters Barney™, Angelina Ballerina™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas The Tank Engine™.

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