Wanderlust Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Group Travel’

Here at Amazing Journeys, we’re lucky have the best jobs in the world—and we think our good fortune is worth sharing. So, when your next journey seems like a distant dream, take a few minutes to explore our WANDERLUST blog—it’s chock full of engaging tales and helpful tips from our travels around the world. Check out the most recent entry (at the top) or search by your preferred criteria. Consider it motivation for your next embarkation.

Border

Highlights of Scandinavia and Russia

Monday, August 28th, 2017

50 Shades of Green

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Ireland blog1
by Malori

It’s hard to say which of the many highlights of our recent tour in Ireland was our favorite. Was it the scone making class at the farm and the delicious fruits of our labor we got to enjoy with tea? Was it the 50 shades of green that dotted the rolling hillsides and farmland? To some, it was the endless rainbows we spotted or our never-ending search for the pot of gold and leprechauns. Many said it was it our remarkable pub crawls with the best music in the world. And to most of us, it was the wonderful group that gathered together across the pond to explore and discover the delightful and hospitable people of Ireland who welcomed us to their country.

Ireland is a culture away, yet, just a hop, skip and a jump from America. The six hour flight and the five hour time difference made it easy to travel. The fact that English is the language made it simple, yet, the dialect so different from ours, we couldn’t understand much of what was spoken. That was part of the fun.

Enjoying whiskey tastings and learning about Guinness Beer, straight from the source, were more highlights. Most of us took on the 100-step climb up to the top of Blarney Castle. We braved wind and rain and then lying upside-down on our back, kissed the famous stone to be granted “the gift of eloquence.”

Ireland blog2
We were amazed that the food was actually better than we expected, and we got to sample potatoes of every kind!

Roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, hashed brown potatoes, potato leek soup, scalloped potatoes, garlic potatoes… need I say more? We sampled Guinness stew and savory pies of every kind. Seeing the Dingle Peninsula and the Cliffs of Moher were gorgeous and we were blessed with a sunny day so we could enjoy hiking around the cliffs.

We got to sample ice cream with names like Kerry Cream, Irish Oats and Caramel, Smoked Salmon and Guinness. It was delicious (the Irish Oats and Caramel, that is)!

Ireland blog3
Our scone making class was a memory we could take home and share with others. Barry and I made them today and tweaked the recipe somewhat. Here is our new and improved Irish Scones…straight from the farm!

2 c. self rising flour
¾ stick butter
¼ c. sugar
1 egg
½ c. buttermilk
½ c. dried fruit (raisins or other fruit…we used tart cherries)

• Pre-heat cookie sheet and oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl, mix together flour and butter. Use your hands to mix to make sure butter is softened and evenly distributed.
• Add sugar and stir.
• Add dried fruit.
• In a measuring cup, mix together buttermilk and egg.
• Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in half of the buttermilk/egg mixture.
• Mix in part of the flour mixture getting it moist from the liquid in the center of the bowl.
• Add in more of the dry ingredients from the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.
• Take the dough and need it on a flat surface, adding in flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky.
• Spread out dough to about 1 inch thick.
• Take a glass or round cookie cutter, dip the rim in flour (so it doesn’t stick to the dough.
• Cut with cookie cutter or glass.
• Place on heated cookie sheet
• Cook for 17 minutes.

It’s a simple recipe and so yummy. Serve with jam and tea. Enjoy!

scones

Greetings from the National Parks

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

– by Malori

Greetings from Colorado and Utah where we are visiting some of our country’s greatest treasures, it’s natural beauty. Our National Parks were created to preserve some of the most awe inspiring scenery anywhere. Our group of 18 Amazing Journeyers are hitting the open roads in search of America’s inspirational landscapes. Today we are in Moab, Utah where we visited our collective favorite, Arches National Park. We visited by day and hiked up to and climbed through several of the actual arches here. The red colored sandstone was nature at it’s finest! In the evening, we went back to an area called “Balanced Rock” to watch the sunset, and with the sun setting against the rocks, we observed the natural colors of the rocks changing from orange to “burnt orange” to red. The colors of the mountains in the background were purple and the clouds in the sky turned pink. It was so beautiful, we broke out singing, “America the Beautiful” together.

This morning, some of the group participated in an exhilarating Hummer Safari tour up and over the red rocks and to the face of the cliffs, overlooking the Colorado River below. The rest of the group choose a white water rafting adventure in the Colorado River, and most of the group escaped the 106 degree heat and jumped right in the water, swimming alongside of the raft.

Later, we visited Canyonlands National Park, another beauty in our four-National Parks Tour. The views and vistas were amazing, and the hiking at both of the National Parks in Utah were incredible.

Earlier in the week, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Denver and tomorrow we will be visiting Mesa Verde National Park.

The Amazing Journeyers who choose to come with us on this tour love seeing the majestic landscapes we have had the opportunity to visit.

The Elation of Vacation Preparation

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It’s a miserable oxymoron, but planning to go on vacation involves a lot of work.  Whether you’re traveling with a companion or part of a group travel experience, it’s true; for that much-needed vacation, one must spend a great deal of time to put their “regular” life on hold and put their “vacation” life in place.  It’s important to properly prepare for your departure, arrival and ultimate return back home so that you can maximize your rest-ability without a total disruption of your home life.  As a dude who  is in the constant motion of traveling—leading our Jewish singles vacations, or sometimes just taking a vacation for myself—I’ve garnered some handy tips on how to lessen the burden of preparation, keep life at home ready for your return, and to have a carefree transition on both ends.

  • Call Your Credit Card Company

Many credit card companies have identity protection plans in place that help protect travelers from theft and fraud. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s a good idea to contact your credit card companies before traveling to ensure the card will work.  Check the back of your credit card for customer service numbers

  • Place a “Hold” on Mail and Deliveries

Your nearest post office branch has a pretty yellow post card that you can fill out in about 30 seconds to request your mail to be held during the dates you are away.  Keep a supply at home with you and mail it, free of charge, about a week before your departure. They will even deliver the whole mishpucha to you on the date you select for your return. (I don’t suggest using the online “hold mail” option as it doesn’t seem to be an effective communication source).  I usually put the start date to be one day before my departure, just to make certain they actually have begun to hold my mail.  Stop on all automatic deliveries like your daily newspaper by simply calling their circulation department and let them know you’ll be placing your delivery on hold.

  • Emergency Phone Numbers

Leave transit details and contact phone numbers with family and friends in case they need to reach you while you’re away. These include phone number of the hotels where you’re staying, flight numbers, contact info of airlines, cruise ship and your tour company…and for those who may be watching your pets or kids, phone numbers for doctors/veterinarians, if necessary

  • Set up Pet Care

If you have a furry family member, you may actually be inclined to provide more setup care for this loved one than you give attention to for yourself.  We love our cats and dogs that much!    If you are planning to leave Fluffy at a kennel (called “Pet Resorts” these days) be sure to make your reservation as far in advance as possible.  Many “resorts” can sell out of their “deluxe accommodations” early, especially around holiday times.  When you do drop off your little ball of love, be sure to leave the staff with your contact information as well as all medications, your vet’s phone numbers and a few familiar toys & treats so that s/he feels as at-home as much as possible.

  • Cash Out

Never leave town without some cash – domestic or foreign currency! If you’re traveling within the country, make sure to hit the bank before you leave so that you don’t end up paying ATM surcharge fees in another destination.  If you’re traveling overseas, it’s a good idea to carry some of the local country’s currency with you. Take enough cash for cab fare or transfer fees so you don’t have to go in search of an exchange booth. Amazing Journeys’ website provides a link to Oanda currency converter (click our Resources button) to determine the best rate of exchange for your money.

  • Check the Weather

Before you zip up the suitcase and head to the airport, do one last check of the local weather in your destination and make any necessary adjustments to clothes and amenities.

  • Pack Your Essentials…properly

Before leaving the house ensure that you have all necessary essentials.  Most importantly, LOOK AT YOUR PASSPORT! Seriously, open it up and look at the photo to make sure you have and the right one.  I’ve seen it happen; you have a roommate, a spouse, a traveling companion…and you inadvertently slip the wrong passport into your pocket.  Major problem if you present someone else’s passport at security!   The following items should be kept on your person, not packed in your suitcase:  Passport/identification…all medications….all your travel documents including airline ticket, cruise ticket, car/hotel reservation….cash/credit cards/travelers cheques….one change of clothes, just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive as planned.

Overpacking is a major issue on many fronts. Its hard on your back, it costs you money at the airports and it wastes time in transition as baggage handlers, motor coach drivers and  hotel personnel have to haul and lug.  Excess weight isn’t green for the environment either as it utilizes more fuel on planes, cars and busses and the aforementioned burden on physical stress.  My simple rule of thumb is to simply pack for less.  It’s actually okay to wear things twice (or thrice), to do some laundry (cheaper to send out a load at the hotel than to pay overweight fees at the airport) and to treat yourself to something new while on vacation.

  • Turn off your water, turn on your timers, and unplug your appliances

If your home will be vacant for a period time, you should absolutely turn off your main water valve and drain all the faucets.  If a pipe were to burst, the water would just flow endlessly until you got home. Even if you live in a cold weather environment, a frozen pipe is better than a busted flowing pipe.  Contrary to popular belief, letting your water drip does not prevent freezing.   When you return home, turn the valve and all faucets on gradually to avoid a massive rush of water.   Also, unplug all unnecessary appliances like the toaster, your hair dryer and even your computer.  With electricity still flowing, you’ll burn unnecessary units and assume wasted costs. Plus, you’ll save the life of these items should there be a power surge in your absence.  Finally, get yourself a timer for a lamp so that it comes on and off at varying intervals.  A light turning on and off is a deterrent for a would-be burglar.