Wellness Travel’s Trendy Gold Facial

With wellness travel(include hyperlink to wellness travel blog post) on the rise, it is no surprise that spas would be looking for unique ways to impress travelers and stand out from the herd. While spas are known to appeal to those with a taste for luxury, they are also known to target travelers who may be willing to spend more of their hard earned dollars treating themselves while vacationing. The new 24-carat gold facials, also known as the Cleopatra Facial, may seem as though it is taking the experience to the next level but may also be a flash in the pan. Travelers should not steer away from wellness travel, but try to spend wisely on types of wellness they are willing to incorporate into their overall lifestyle.

Hotels like the 5-Star Raffles Dubai Hotel & Spa along with the Copperwynd Resort and Club (located in Fountain Hills, Arizona) are adopting the 24-carat gold facial. Lizzie Porter gives you her full take on what it was like getting this luxurious facial at the Raffles Dubai (you can read her take on the Cleopatra Facial here).

Lizzie Porter with Telegraph Travel gets Gold Facial

Lizzie Porter with Telegraph Travel gets Gold Facial

Lizzy says, “The treatment didn’t quite make an Egyptian queen of me; although it did feel novel, I can think of better ways to spend £335, unless someone suddenly hands me access to a sheika’s bottomless bank account.”

Skin care expert, Renee D’Ariano from reneesspa.com, advises that skin care is much like exercise. Renee says,  “Sure, you will de-stress in the moment, but you will not see the full benefits unless you adopt facials as a regular part of your skin care routine, whether it is once a month or every other. While it is good that you are interested in getting a facial while on vacation, you will get the most value from the skin care techniques when adopting them as a regular part of your wellness routine.”

Renee also says that it is better to do your research and watch where you spend your wellness budget when on vacation. When asked if she thought the 24-carat gold facial could really help with anti-aging she said,  “I don’t know if I would buy into that. I surely wouldn’t spend  $500 on something that may be a trend. It is like the blood facials that were popular a few years ago, yeah, blood facials! They were a big trend and people were spending on these without doing proper research beforehand and now you hardly hear of people doing them. It is because it wasn’t worth the expense and it was fairly gross.

If you are going to try out a spa for the first time, while on vacation, choose something that is going to stimulate your body to generate cell regrowth or hydration. An example would be a microdermabrasion. It is practical, tried and true, and something you can incorporate into your wellness routine once you are home.”

So maybe a 24-carat gold facial sounds like a great way to spend your hard earned dollars while on vacation, but you may want to think about investing in something that will have a much more lasting memory or guaranteed positive effects.

When traveling for wellness, do you fall prey to trendy spa treatments like the 24-carat gold facial? Or are you more likely to spend on treatments you would include in your lifestyle?

Find Out How You Can Get to Cuba

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Photo by Magdalena Roeseler

While the U.S. Government is easing up on the restrictions regarding travel to Cuba, there still is a lot you cannot do while legally traveling to the mysterious island.

Travelers interested in working on their tan on the beaches of Cuba need not fly as the U.S. Government states visits to sea and sand resorts are off limits. Although learning about the various kinds of sand on the beaches of Cuba is not allowed, there are still parts of the Cuban culture travelers will not be disappointed in learning about when partaking.

Cuba hosts rum tastings to educate your palate on the various levels of the distilling process. Start with some of the youngest rums and work your way up the ladder to more complex varieties where you can potentially develop true appreciation for distillery art.

Don’t stop there. Be sure to take a class on rolling Cuban cigars. Maybe you can even leave knowing how to roll the complex Culebras which deserves an A in our cigar book. Just remember, you are only allowed to bring back up to $100 worth of those highly sought after Cuban Cigars.

Check Out the 12 Legal Reasons for Traveling to Cuba 

2015’s Best Travel Accessories

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Frequent Flyers and Road-Junkies are always looking for the best travel accessories that help make traveling more convenient. Let’s face it, airports and overly packed cars are not glamorous but traveling efficiently and chic is.  Here is a list of 2015’s Best Travel Accessories.

August Smart Lock

Have you ever left for vacation only to realize you forgot to leave the spare key under the mat? With August Smart Lock (compatible with iPhone and Android devices); you never have to worry about making spare keys again. Through August’s App, you can grant (even revoke) access to those you rely on while away.

A lock that’s as smart as, well, your smart phone.

 

Ostrich Pillow

Napping and traveling go hand and hand. If it were only as easy and relaxing as it should be. With the Ostrich Pillow, you can nap in what would normally be an uncomfortable space with a real sense of privacy. Even better, you won’t wake up with the pesky neck cramp from resting your head on the cabin window inside of the plane!

When traveling, bury your head like an ostrich and snooze on.

Reservoir by Dark Energy

This Utah based company brings a portable charger to the market that is both sleek and compact. Able to charge most phones for up to one week, this accessory is a must have for those travel moments that keep you moving. Never again worry about your phone or tablet dying while taking a photo on your cruise or while touring Europe. For the more rugged travelers, keep your eye out for its sister product The Poseidon (available for pre-order now).

not sure you can beat this type of charge anywhere

Unisex Leather Cabin Bag by Vintage Child

Traveling with style and purpose, the Unisex Leather Cabin Bags by Vintage Child are at the top of the list in their category. This quality bag has enough room for a weekend’s worth of necessities while having the ability to hold it’s integrity and protect your items from the airport bustle. For those who only travel with a carry on, this is a must have.

be chic and efficient with this vintage cabin bag

iPad Air 2 by Apple

With an ultra-thin, lightweight design this is the perfect fit for your carry on items. You can choose up to 128 GB of storage, allowing you take your favorite movies, music, and books along with you on your travels. No more carrying around your chunky laptop, the iPad Air 2 can edit high quality photos and video, manage your business tasks, and keep you connected to the world around you.

no more pulling a bulky laptop out during your plane ride

 

Hurricanes: There’s an App for That?

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TravelSafe - International calling

Planning a coastal or Caribbean vacation during hurricane season can be a gamble. You may have a plan, but you cannot really be sure the wind will blow in your favor. Time and time again, hurricanes have proven they are anything but predictable. For modern day techies, this means having an app in your tech tool belt to keep you updated on forming weather phenomena.

 

NOAA Now brought to you by Kelly Technology

This free app keeps you in the know about both inland and oceanic storms. The information comes right from NOAA and NASA, both reliable resources. It can give you updates on storms worldwide and there is live radar to give you a good visual. The only downfall – it does not have options for storm preparedness, evacuations routes, or emergency numbers.

 

SeaStorm Hurricane Tracker by Poignant Projects

For just $1.99 you can keep track of tropical storm and hurricane activity. You can also share screenshots of your findings on social media to keep friends and family in the loop while traveling. It is limited to the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins though, so if you are traveling into the Western Pacific or Indian Oceans regions, you may need to look elsewhere.

 

Hurricane Tracker by HTVMA Solutions

This app is not only free but all-inclusive. It includes up to date information from newsrooms and key government agencies up and down the coast, live video, forecast, local shelter, evacuation zones, and emergency numbers. Hurricane Tracker shows you when there is time for concern with its “threat meter.” Not only do you stay up to date on the latest storm patterns but you also have access to checklists to prepare your family for storm threats. The only drawback is it seems to work best for only those in the Western Atlantic region.

 

Hurricane – American Red Cross

Good for travelers new to hurricane preparedness. This bi-lingual app can tell you what to do before, during, and after a storm. You can monitor storms in your area as well as set locations for multiple destinations. This app enables you to find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out. In the event of an outage, there are step by step instructions informing you on what you need to do to stay safe and updated. Hopefully this app will spread its capabilities worldwide vs. only being available in the U.S.

 

Hurricane HD by Kitty Code (iOS users only)

With many great features, Kitty Code brings you an app able to track Hurricanes and tropical storms globally for just $2.99. It can keep you informed on wind speed, direction, five-day forecasts, tracking maps, satellite view, iOS’s location services to tell you how far away you are from the storm. Its information comes straight from the National Hurricane Center or the Joint Typhoon Warning center which makes it great for storm tracking no matter where you are. If traveling to an area you are unfamiliar with, may want to pair with an app that can inform you on what to do in a natural disaster as well as connect you to local emergency resources and information.

 

Ireland’s Other Favorite Beers: Guinness is Not the Only One!


 


Often times when we think of a good, Irish beer the first that comes to mind is Guinness. Well, what if you found out there were a few more and that you have really been missing out? Here are four Irish beers that you must try.

 Murphy’s Irish Stout (Cork, Ireland) 

This beer is considered outstanding amongst the beer snobs of Ireland and the United States alike. With an ABV of 4% this creamy stout gives a smooth, chocolate flavor to your palette.

Beamish Irish Stout by Heineken (Cork, Ireland)

This light, dry stout has an ABV of 4.1% with a flavor that delivers. There is a creamy head to top it off with light bitterness and cinnamon undertones, this beer is sure to put a smile on your face.

Smithwick’s Superior Irish Ale (Kilkenny, Ireland)

An earthy beer with an ABV of 4.5% this beer is crisp and clean. This full-bodied beer takes it easy on the hops. So for those of you who like a crisp beer but don’t like the bitter aftertaste of a more hoppy beer, this is for you!

Kilkenny’s Irish Cream Ale (Guinness Brewing Co., Dublin, Ireland)

This Irish Ale is of the Red Ale variety with an ABV of 4.3%. With strong legs and a creamy head, this beer delivers floral spices with a hint of fruit. It has a sweet scent but a crisp taste. For those who love red ale, this is a Irish must have.

The Truth About St. Patrick’s Day


Sometimes, only after our college years, do we begin to wonder the exact origin of St. Patrick’s Day. The true traditions and meaning behind the holiday come to the front of our minds as the need to heavily celebrate dulls. Chances are, if you are reading this, it is because you have already asked yourself the question, “What is St. Patrick’s Day really?” Well, you’re in luck (pun intended). Here are the truths of St. Patrick’s Day.

Saint Patrick was not from Ireland.

St. Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387. Then, his family moved to Britain to care for Roman colonies. Around the age of sixteen, St. Patrick was kidnapped from his family’s estate in Britain during a raid conducted by Irishmen. He was later sold as a slave to herd sheep in Ireland.

Then how did St. Patrick become, well, a saint?

Although St. Patrick spent many years living with the “pagans” of Ireland, he strengethed his faith in Christianity. He prayed often. During prayer, he had a vision that it was time for him to escape Ireland. Fleeing to the docks, St. Patrick was able to escape to France where later he was reunited with his family in Britain.

St. Patrick felt as though his calling was to study Christianity. He spent just over 14 years studying Roman Catholicism. During a dream, St. Patrick heard the very people who captured and enslaved him calling him to walk amongst them once more. He had taken this as a sign to fill the people of Ireland’s hearts and minds with the love and knowledge of Christianity. After being ordained Bishop, St. Patrick went back to Ireland where he successfully built churches and spread the religion for 30 years until his death in the 5th century. He was believed to die on March 17th, which is why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated this time every year.

Is the Shamrock Legend true?

One of the most well-known legends of St. Patrick is that of the shamrock. As a missionary, St. Patrick was known to explain The Trinity as the leaves of Ireland’s clover, the shamrock. While the leaves all look separate. Each having a strong individual presence, the closer you get to the stem, they are all one. Much like the Trinity, while all seen as different entities, they are all part of God. This held a lot of meaning to pagan Ireland as they were said to have many traditions and beliefs based around the number three (St. Patrick must have been a very smart man). However popular this story may be, there is little documentation to pose it as a fact. The first real mention is in 1675 where St. Patrick is depicted in the detail of a stained glass window holding a shamrock clover.

What about the legend of the snakes?

Another legend says that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. Well, Ireland never really had many snakes and he had nothing to do with their snake-free status. Although, it could quite possibly have been a metaphor for his successful mission of spreading Christianity throughout Ireland and driving the “evil pagan” religions and beliefs out.

Well, why does anyone celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day was originally celebrated as the Feast of Saint Patrick in 17th century Ireland. It was a religious holiday that occurred during the Christian season of Lent. In the morning, Christians attended church to honor the saint. The afternoons were spent feasting, drinking, and celebrating. A free pass was given during the Feast of Saint Patrick and traditional Irish bacon and cabbage was a popular meal.

In 1762 Colonial NY hosted its first St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Irish immigrants who were part of the British colonial army marched down the streets of New York to honor the patron saint of Ireland.  Since then, it has been the US’s oldest, and most watched parade. Most identify St. Patrick’s Day as a drinking holiday. Many people did not know that until the 1960s, pubs in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s Day! Drinking all day and night would have been too sinful.

What’s with all the green?

Well, Ireland (also known as the Emerald Island), is associated with the shamrock, thanks to St. Patrick. What most people don’t know is that the pagan beliefs around the color green were very different than how we view them today. It used to be considered bad luck to wear green. It was the color of the faeries and if your children wore too much green, it was believed that the faeries would take you away.

As time progressed, Christianity debunked this theory and people began to associate the symbol with the luck of the Irish. In the 19th century Ireland even declared green as a symbol of Ireland (it was originally blue). Oh, and if you forget to wear green, expect to get pinched! It is now tradition for children to pinch those who forget to wear this lucky color on St. Patrick’s Day.

So there you have it, a quick look into the true history of St. Patrick’s Day and how it came to be. Now that you have done your research, you may go enjoy a Guinness or maybe one of those green beers they are serving these days.

6 Tips to Keep You Safe in Your Hotel

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Are you concerned about safety on your next vacation? Wondering what you can do to prevent theft? While most hotels are safe and secure, it is important to be mindful of your surroundings and take the proper steps to protect yourself.

Here are 6 quick tips to keep you safe before and during your holiday travels:

1. Do your homework before you book your hotel room. You want to make sure your hotel is located in a safe area and takes the proper security measures. In addition to looking at rates and amenities, it’s important to ask key questions. For example, is the hotel in an upscale neighborhood or business district? Is there a police station nearby? Do they have a doorman or security guard? Is their front desk staffed 24 hours a day? These are questions that hotel should be happy to answer.

2. Don’t take a room on the ground floor. These rooms are more likely to be burglarized. This is especially important if the doors and windows of the room are open to the outside.

3. Keep your door locked at all time. This may sound like a “gimme”, but stay diligent about locking the door behind you. It’s also important to lock the deadbolt.

4. When entering or leaving the hotel at night, make sure to use the front entrance. The front entrance is usually the most well-lit and usually under surveillance.

5. Don’t leave valuables in your car. If you must leave items in your car, cover them with a blanket or put them in your trunk.

6. Include travel insurance in your vacations plans. Unfortunately, we can’t predict the future. We don’t know whether our flight will be delayed or if we need to seek medical attention while traveling. Travel insurance can provide protection if your belongings are lost, damaged or stolen. To find out everything that travel insurance covers, click here.

Tell us, what steps do you take to stay safe while traveling? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us to share your suggestions with other travelers.

Read also…
8 Travel Predictions for 2014
How To Avoid Theft While Traveling
10 Tips for Solo Travelers

Traveling Abroad: 5 Safety Tips


Do you have an international trip coming up? Are you wondering what you can do to stay safe and follow the cultural norms of the country you’re visiting? Follow these tips to make sure your trip is enjoyable and safe.

1. Stay on a well-lit path. Avoid shortcuts when walking in a new city – especially at night. Stay safe by staying on the main streets and ones that are well-lit.

2. Email a copy of your itinerary. Send a copy of all your travel documents – flights, hotel information, and a copy of your passport to a trusted person at home. This way, they will know exactly where you are and will have a copy in case you need it. In addition, send a quick email when you arrive in your destinations so that they know you made it safely.

3. Do your homework. It is important to learn about your destination. Learn about the general culture, rules, laws and people to avoid any faux pas or legal trouble. It is also smart to familiarize yourself with any current safety concerns. The U.S. Department of State’s list of  current travel warnings is a great resource to do just that.

4. Keep your friends close and money closer. It can be tempting, but don’t split up from your friends while abroad. It’s also important to keep your money close to you – either in a hidden arm wallet or something that can not easily be pulled out of a purse or backpack.

5. Protect yourself, your belongings and your travel arrangements with travel insurance. Your health insurance may provide no or little coverage once you leave the United States. If you or your travel companions have any medical issues, you want to make sure you are covered. Medical Emergency Evacuation is also important when traveling abroad. Should you or your travel companions need to be flown back to the United States for medical attention, you do not want that cost to be your responsibility. Let travel insurance take care of that.

Tell us – what’s the best tip you’ve ever gotten for staying safe while traveling abroad? Leave a comment with your tip below.

Read also…
6 Hotel Safety Tips
Best International Destinations for Solo Travelers
How to Avoid Jet Lag While Traveling

10 Tips for Solo Travelers

Solo travel can create the most exhilarating and proud moments of your life. In fact, solo travelers account for 11 percent of all American vacationers according to the U.S. Travel Association. So if you’re thinking about making your way across Europe solo or visiting the Virgin Islands by yourself, we’ve got the top 10 tips to keep you safe, happy and ready to hit the road … solo.

 

  1. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
  2. Avoid appearing like a tourist. Leave the “I LOVE NY” shirt at home and don’t walk around with your face in a local guidebook. You’ll save yourself from appearing vulnerable.
  3. Carry identification with you. It is also important to make copies of your driver’s license and passport and leave them in safe place with a trusted person.
  4. Walk in well-light, public places, especially at night.
  5. Double check your directions and public transportation routes before leaving your hotel.
  6. Send a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member. It’s also important to stay in touch by email or phone.
  7. Talk up your travel plans on social media. You don’t have to giveaway your exact travel dates or any personal information, but sharing ideas and experiences with other solo travelers can provide important insight.
  8. You may be able to bargain room rates. Most hotels base their rates on double occupancy. Simply try asking if a discount is available since you’re the only person staying in the room and that you’ll be using less electricity and water and eating less breakfast than two guests. In the end, it can’t hurt to ask.
  9. Take lots of pictures. When you return home and want to show off all of the great places you traveled, you’ll be glad you have the pictures to go along with your stories. Don’t forget to share them with the people that helped you on #7, too!
  10. Safety should be your top priority. Traveling solo means you have to look out for yourself even more. Carry travel insurance to make sure your belongings, travel investment and medical needs are covered. If your bag is lost, travel insurance can cover your costs to replace the lost items. If you fall ill in a foreign country, travel insurance can make sure you are seen at an English-speaking hospital and cover the costs of your treatment.

Now it’s your turn to tell us – what’s your best tip for someone traveling solo? Share your tip in a comment below, Tweet us using the hashtag “#TravelSafeSolo” or post on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Fall Travel Tips


Fall is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start thinking about your travel plans for the upcoming months.  Whether you’re taking a cruise, traveling abroad or staying closer to home, these travel tips will help make your trip a success:

Check the weather. Fall is a wonderful but fickle season. Weather during the fall can be unpredictable, so make sure to do your homework and be prepared by packing the right clothes. Packing layers is always a safe way to go. Don’t forget to include travel insurance so you can protect your vacation investment against unforeseen weather events, too.

Bring along the right shoes. If there’s rain in your forecast, make sure to bring along waterproof shoes. No matter what your forecast says, don’t forget comfortable shoes.

Wander around and relax. This is good advice in any season, but especially in the fall when the leaves have changed colors and there’s plenty of brisk air to be enjoyed. Find a local park or nice trail where you can enjoy the beauty of the city you’re visiting.

Tell us, what’s the best fall travel tip you’ve been told? Leave a comment below, reach out to us on Facebook or Tweet us. We can’t wait to hear your tips!