Exploring the Rhine and Danube Rivers
If you are just getting ready to take your first European river cruise, or you’ve been on several, you will want to consider both the Rhine and Danube Rivers. There’s a reason why they’re the most popular river cruises in the world!
First to note: The Rhine and Danube River cruises have some similarities.
Stahleck Castle overlooking the Rhine River with Viking Longship
The Viking Longship Njord near the town of Durnstein on the Danube River.
They flow through some of the most scenic places in Europe. You will see bustling cities, charming villages, and even picturesque fields. Castles dot the countryside. http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/myagent/setandrisevacations/ Also, BOTH rivers will have you cruising through several locks along your trip. These engineering marvels will have you captivated. They will meander through beautiful scenery and engage all of your senses. Stimulating the “Thinkers Mind” and educating while immersing you on all the local culture. It is the differences between the Rhine and Danube River cruises that are likely able to help you choose which cruise is right for you.
The Rhine River will take you through the Black Forest of Germany where you can enjoy an afternoon tea, complete with their famous chocolate cake. Entrees will include hearty meals featuring sausage and pork. Fine wine will also be available in the form of Rieslings which are produced from the grapes in the area.
The Viking Longship Mani passing the town of Lorchhausen, Germany in the Middle Rhine Valley.
Local specialties on the Danube River include Goulash and Schnitzel, pastries, and traditional apple strudel. Street food favorites such as Hungarian Langos and Chimney Cakes can be enjoyed year-round. And don’t miss the famous Apricot Brandy made in Dürnstein, Austria.
Art or Music?:
Although both rivers go through historic centers, the ones on the Rhine are larger and more modern. These include Amsterdam, Basel and Strasbourg with museums and a thriving art scene.
The Danube River’s cities have more of an old world feel, with music playing an important role. In fact, classical music performances occur on a daily basis.
Do you become energized by them or do you prefer to get away from it all? The Rhine River is typically busier. This means more ships on the river and cities which can be a bit more crowded. Some of those ships will be much larger and not nearly as sweet as yours.
Danube River Cruises have a greener feel, with fewer ships and people on the river.
If it is possible to summarize a feeling into a phrase: The Rhine is perfect for those who like romance and fairy tales, art, and are more comfortable with crowds. The Danube, an old world feel, fewer crowds, and classical music.
Once you think you know which cruise is right for you, reach out to your friendly travel advisor : ) You’ll then be matched up to the correct cruise line based on what you want to see, how long you would like to be gone, and your budget. Then you’ll be on your way! You can check out more here: My personal Viking Website!
I hope you take the time to connect with a travel agent and review all the specials and options that are available to you. Click here to connect with Set and Rise Vacations
Jamaica is a Caribbean Island steeped in history and culture. Jamaicans are proud to share their country, traditions, and beauty with its near 4.3 million visitors each year. With the national motto of “Out of Many, One People” and unofficial motto of “One Love” you can expect to be welcomed warmly. Journey through the country’s six unique areas with me and discover which one might be the best fit for your next vacation.
But first for you history buffs….. a little Island History.
The history of Jamaica begins with Arawaks, or Tainos, that migrated to the area about 2,500 years ago. They named the island Xamaca which is the land of wood and water and settled near the coasts for easy fishing. Xamaca was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494 on his second voyage to the Indies. Unfortunately, Columbus’ discovery and claim of the land by the Spaniards led to the eventual extinction of the Arawak population.
After years of struggle and internal strife among the Spaniards, (which from the previous paragraph, it should come as no surprise that these guys never seemed to get along) the English overtook the island in 1655. Upon their surrender, the Spaniards released their slaves who became known as Maroons. Over the following years, the English depended heavily on African slaves that were shipped to the area for sale.
As you would expect, the slaves tried again and again with various rebellions to become free. There are stories about Queen Nanny, a brave lady that worked to lead Maroons to safety in the northern mountains of the island until a treaty was signed in 1739 granting them about 2500 acres of land. Slavery was eventually abolished in 1808 followed by emancipation in 1834 and full freedom in 1838.
The Jamaica we know today became its own independent nation in 1962. It is a member of the British Commonwealth but is not dependent on Britain. It is a strong, thriving nation of 2.9 million people across 4,244 square miles.
Fewf. Finally. So, to summarize: The people of Jamaica worked from 1494-1962 to become its own independent nation. A well-earned achievement. It now is set up to just spill over its own unique Island Vibes.
Jamaica is divided into six (6) unique areas with its own feel. From the most romantic spot for honeymooners to the perfect wellness retreat for the yogi inside you to the crazy fun at Carnival, visitors are bound to find something that suits their travel styles when they visit this amazing island.
1.) Kingston- the capital city, is known for its a mix of night life, gastronomy, art, and music. But Kingston is most famous for its birth of reggae music which is celebrated every February and the city has the most recording studios per square capita in the world. It further received recognition in 2015 when Kingston was named a UNESCO Creative City of Music. Before you enjoy the fetes, or parties, each night, be sure to check out the Bob Marley Museum. For those that like to enjoy the culture through cuisine, plan a visit around the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail. This trail is a combination of about 15 eateries, coffee farms and mountain views. After a perfect lunch, consider stopping into the National Gallery to enjoy Jamaican art. This museum is the largest public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean.
2.) Port Antonio- is defined by nature and is locally referred to affectionately as “Portie.” Through its rains and lush greenery, it was established for its coconut and banana exports along its rivers. This is also where much of Jamaica’s history with the Maroons began, the descendants of escaped slaves who established free communities in the mountains. You can learn more about their history at the Charles Town Museum and Asafu Yard. The ideal place to ponder all that history is on a boat tour to the Blue Lagoon. This magnificent lagoon is breathtaking with its perfect blue color caused by its near 200-foot depth. Another beautiful Instagram-worthy spot is Reach Falls on Driver’s River. The adventurous surfer staying in the quaint town can enjoy the waves off Long Bay Beach.
3.) Ocho Rios- is where most of the adventure options are located between the Caribbean Sea and the Blue Mountains. Bob Marley fans can participate in a tour of Nine Mile, the small village where he was both born and buried. The active traveler can zipline or bobsled down Mystic Mountain. The curious can go underground to see the Green Grotto Caves full of hidden waterfalls, stalagmites, and stalactites. This cave was even once used as hideouts by Spaniards and then by smugglers running arms to Cuba. The must-do activity in Ocho Rios is to climb the famous Dunn’s River Falls. Form a human chain to help each other up the falls before you relax for the afternoon.
4.) Montego Bay- is the resort city set by the sea. Some call it Mo Bay for short. This is the area most known to visitors looking for a great all-inclusive resort with the white sandy beach or a great golf course. You can enjoy great history when you visit the Rose Hall Great House where infamous Annie Palmer lived to torture her husbands and slaves, Johnny Cash fans can visit his home at Cinnamon Hill Great House, and swing by Sam Sharpe Square to see the statue of the man that helped lead the Christmas Rebellion of 1831 to fight for slaves’ freedom. For those that are looking for a simple, relaxing way to connect with nature, a ride down the Martha Brae River on a guided bamboo raft may be the perfect activity.
5.) Negril– on the western tip of the island is where people go for romance and relaxation. This area became a popular place for backpackers and hippies to visit beginning in the 1960s and their lifestyle stuck around the area for decades to follow. Negril is home to the famous Seven Mile Beach which offers the quintessential white sandy beach and clear water. Lovers can enjoy the perfect island sunset on the west end cliffs after you sometimes find cliff jumpers there performing jumps from eight to forty feet. And the more adventurous visitors can cliff jump too. This is also the best place in the island to plan your scuba, snorkel, and deep-sea fishing excursions.
6.) South Coast– is the most low-key section of the island and is considered to be “off the beaten path.” Consider this part of the island if you want to disconnect from the hustle of everyday life. South Coast is mostly defined by its mountains and quaint villages. And these villages work hard to protect their wildlife with the Galleon Fish Sanctuary and Fonthill Beach Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Connect with wildlife on a safari tour on the Black River or enjoy seven different cascading waterfalls in the YS Falls.
Jamaica is an island easily accessible by air or cruise ship and has so much to offer that this island will not disappoint. It’s one of the most affordable all-inclusive locations. You could have a great 10-night vacation that covers each of the six distinct areas. Prefer a long weekend getaway that focuses on just one? I would love to help you determine which area best fits your travel style.
Contact Set and Rise Vacations today to get the conversation started Vacation Planning Session Form – Set & Rise Vacations (setandrisevacations.com)
An All-Inclusive resort vacation are a dream! White sand beaches. Great service. Delicious food. Everything you could need is at your fingertips.
To keep that dream from turning into a nightmare, make sure to avoid these costly mistakes.
1. Choosing the wrong resort.
Don’t you do it. Don’t you dare book that resort without consulting a travel agent! While all-inclusive resorts vary widely based on service, food, amenities, and activities, the biggest considerations are location, theme, and guest demographics. It’s important to have a clear picture of what you want and plan from that view.
Just because you can eat three pounds of prime rib and a gallon of ice cream doesn’t mean you should. The same goes for trying every specialty drink on the menu. Keeping in mind that your body (and more specially, its internal functions) doesn’t know you are not at home. Think ahead an pack a little Liquid IV . Use moderation in what you eat and drink as you want to both enjoy and remember your vacation.
3. Staying at the resort the entire time.
Get out of your comfort zone! You already took the leap, take the steps, and get outside that resort. Most all-inclusive resorts are in a specific destination because of the beauty and culture, so plan an excursion to explore the area. And keep in mind that adrenaline helps to cement memories deeper into your brain!
4. Not getting to know the staff.
Learning the staff members’ names and a smile will go a long way toward making your vacation more enjoyable. Staff members who feel “seen” often go out of their way to help the people with whom they make a connection. Many resorts do allow tipping. Although it is NOT required. Be kind and exchange your currency at the airport so you can tip in the native currency. This will make it easier for the staff to use that well-earned cash. Currency info Click that link and find out more about the currency for your location.
5. Staying “plugged in”.
It’s time to put the phone down and turn the computer off. Remember your motivation for planning your vacation and be fully present in the moment. Take the long walk on the beach. Join in the pool aerobics, dance at the glow party, cheer for the fire spinner. Really dig into this experience. You won’t regret not having your phone in your face.
We would be remiss if we didn’t share what we think is the most important mistake to avoid: Skipping Travel Insurance! This is my favorite: http://Tripmate.com/wpN430F
Did you know your medical insurance doesn’t cover you once you are off American soil? That’s right. You’re not covered in case of a medical emergency. Trust me. Get travel insurance!
Ready to turn your all-inclusive daydream into reality? Contact Set and Rise Vacations. We’re ready to help!https://setandrisevacations.com/vacation-planning-session/
I think it’s safe to say that most parents want their children to be kind, well-rounded, and inquisitive little humans that grow up to be kind, well-rounded, and inquisitive adults. One of the ways we can encourage this is to travel with them, but we can’t be wheels up 24/7. There are, of course, things to consider – finances, work, and school schedules, time, etc. So how can we continue to inspire their curiosity and sense of wonder between trips? Check out these suggestions to keep your kids craving adventure.
Camera – Taking photos is fun for all ages and now they even make durable, child-friendly digital cameras. Like this one an Amazon: Child friendly camera It is exciting to see what is important to them and what interests them through what they capture. Great thing about this is they can use this at home and while they are traveling … SCORE!
Books – This is a given. There are so many books out there that can support their curiosity to learn about the world around them. Atlases, fact books, books with plots in other countries, books about traditions and culture. The list goes on. This is one we love: The Travel Book, A Journey Through Every Country In The World.
Globe – Whether the globe is interactive or old school, there is something about giving a globe a spin that makes exploring the places on them fun. It also puts into perspective for them how big the world is when they realize their home is just a small dot!
Adventure Fund – Move aside piggy bank. We aren’t saving for toys – we are saving for experiences! Having a fund designated for travel is a great way to get your children excited for their next adventure. They will be more likely to put their money towards it if the money is going towards something that you all agree on. Maybe a certain excursion or new luggage! Consider a money saving app for them like Chime.
Binoculars – Let them explore the world around them up close! They can use these when going on walks, playing hide and seek, and simply spotting nature around them. Playing ‘I Spy’ is also a fun way to put these to use. Anything is more exciting when you are looking at it close up and personal! Try out this pair great for smaller eyes: Binoculars for Adults and Kids
Local Experiences – You don’t always need to go halfway across the world when you get the itch for adventure. Visit local parks, farms, and zoos. Buy annual passes to a nearby amusement park. Take part in seasonal activities like skiing or a day trip to the lake. I always encourage families to gift experiences like these to help with cost as well.
I hope this list has inspired you to find ways to encourage your child’s wanderlust at home. Of course, when you are ready to take flight, I’d love to help you!
Contact me to start planning your next adventure. Click here to schedule a 30-minute phone call to discuss any of your travel wonders. I would love to help you plan domestically or internationally.
Travel during the busy holiday season doesn’t have to be full of frustrations. Remember these few tips to help you have smooth travel.
- Plan and budget. Travel in peak holiday season can be extra busy and priced at a premium. We recommend you consider your travel plans six to nine months in advance to find the best deals for air and accommodations.
- Travel on off-peak days. (Don’t worry I’ll do the minus-a-day-here, add-a-day-there foolery) Avoid traveling the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Traveling early on the actual holiday can often save you frustration and money.
- Pack earplugs and sleep mask. Earplugs will be your friend on noisy flights and a sleep mask can help you get better sleep while in unfamiliar hotel surroundings. Think ultra-comfy out of the box. Sometimes this is necessary to feel just slightly comfortable while out of town! You can buy this set below here: Amazon.com: Lucky Whale Silk Satin Sleeping Eye Mask, Soft Sleep Eye Night Blindfold for Women and Men, Eyeshade Cover with Satin Hair Scrunchies and Ear Plugs, Wedding Bridesmaid Gift, Royal Blue : Beauty & Personal Care
- Ship your gifts. Save frustration with trying to keep your suitcase under the weight limit and avoid the chance of gifts being opened for inspection. Instead, ship your gifts to your destination in advance. Let the recipient know that it is to be opened when you arrive by attaching a fun bright tag with special instructions on there they should hid it from themselves. Click the link to get info on Shipping and to find a Post office near you: PO Locator | USPS
- Pack light. If you can manage it, try packing a carry-on suitcase only. You can always do laundry on your trip. This will help you avoid long lines to check in luggage and will let you keep your items with you should you have any flight or train schedule changes. Find my favorite suitcase here. Best carry-on Suitcase | Monos Travel Luggage & Accessories Fits in all overhead compartments and looks beautiful! Also, consider laundry sheets like these to wash those undies on the go! Amazon.com: Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets – Fresh Scent – No Plastic Jug (60 Loads) 30 Sheets, Liquidless Technology… : Health & Household
- Remember your chargers. With the need to arrive early to air and train terminals during the holiday season, don’t forget to bring your device chargers and even a travel charging brick as a backup. I suggest buying an extra of each charger you usually bring and keeping it right inside your suitcase at all times. Your special travel chargers!Amazon.com: Electronics Accessories Organizer Pouch Bag, Universal Travel Digital Accessories Storage Bag for Portable Charger, Cables, Earphone, iPhone, Cord, Customize Inside with Dividers, Pink : Electronics
- Call your travel advisor. Stay calm and call your travel advisor. I can help you find the best value and make sure your travel plans are smooth during the holiday season. I will be there with you for all the holiday season drama. when all else fails book a 30-minute meeting: https://calendly.com/setandrisevacations/30min …..It’s way less expensive than a therapist : )
I hope these tips help spark ideas of how you can have a great travel experience during this holiday season. Quick bonus tip: don’t forget to pack your smile and sense of humor. Your simple smile will help you keep a positive attitude – and may just brighten someone else’s day, too!
I wish you a wonderful holiday season that is filled with love and laughter and of course, memories.