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Wanderlust Blog

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.

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Malori’s Top 10 List for Scenic Beauty

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

by Malori 

Everyone’s got a top 10 list: TripAdvisor, 1,000 Things to See Before You Die, Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times, Viator…  I’ve decided to create my own. Having escorted groups to 7 continents, traveled to 130 countries, sailed on 126 cruises, and visited 38 US states, I consider myself to be well qualified for this task.

Today I want to share: Malori’s Top 10 List for Scenic Beauty (OK, I had to go with 12)

There are so many amazing places on this earth that are so beautiful, being in any one of them actually takes my breath away.  I have been so fortunate to have had several such experiences.  And let’s face it, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we may all have different places that excite and inspire us.  For me, it’s where the snow covered mountains meet a body of water, be it a sea, a lake an ocean or a river. 

With many places, an entire region or even most of the country is so spectacular, it would win a top spot on my list, but I went with the more specific destination, just in case you should decide to visit… I promise, it’ll be so worth it!

  1. Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise), Alberta, Canada

  2. Queenstown, New Zealand

  3. Jokulsarlon Beach and Lagoon (also known as Diamond Beach), Iceland

  4. Inside Passage, Alaska

  5. Lake Tahoe, CA

  6. Vail, Colorado

  7. Jungfrau, Switzerland

  8. Flam, Norway

  9. Antarctica

  10. Glacier Alley, Chilean Fjords, Chile

  11. El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina

  12. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

 

If you can get to any one of these magical spots on earth, consider yourself lucky.  More than one, consider yourself blessed.  I’ll be back with a new list in the coming weeks!  

Strike a pose

Thursday, May 9th, 2019
by Erin


If you’re looking for your next amazing social media picture, look no further than South America! Imagine the reactions from your friends and family when they see a picture of you waddling with penguins or hiking through a bog.


The pictures we share on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are indicative of the persona that you choose to portray.  Whether you surround yourself with gorgeous scenery, hop in with a group of locals, strike a silly pose or showcase your meal, everyone takes different pictures.


South America offers such a wide variety of landscapes, animals, architecture and culture that you will be posting your experience and met with awe and jealousy.    

We are so excited to be going back to South America and absolutely love the itinerary that showcases Argentina, Uruguay and Chile as well as destinations like the Chilean Fjords and Strait of Magellan. Celebrating New Year’s at sea is one of our favorite activities and going back to Easter Island to visit the Moai statues is amazing!

So if you’re ready to snap a few selfies, share with your social network and show off your amazing journey, come join us in South America!

South America trip details can be found by clicking here.

 

New York Happy Hour

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Thanks to the over 125 Amazing Journeyers who came out to our Happy Hour event in New York!

 It was so great to see a lot of familiar faces, meet new traveling companions and enjoy a night out together! If you weren’t able to make it to this party, don’t worry, we will be back!

And if you don’t live near New York, we’ve got you covered too!  

Amazing Journeys will be hitting the road this year and coming to a number of cities around the country (some international destinations as well), so stay tuned – we may be coming to your city next!

 

Follow us on Instagram

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

by Erin

If a picture is worth a thousand words, our Instagram feed is worth millions! 

Our Instagram feed not only allows you to follow along with trips as they are happening but is also where we share travel insight, highlight some of the most beautiful places in the world, show behind the scenes at the AJ office and more. Instagram is an amazing place to indulge your wanderlust!

We’re posting all the time, so click here to follow us on Instagram.  That way, you won’t miss any of the amazing posts we have to share.

Want to see something we haven’t yet posted? Send us some suggestions – we’d love to hear from you!

Goodbye WOW

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

by Malori

Ave Shalom WOW.

I really liked WOW.  As an airline, it had a certain ‘joie de vivre’ and a style all its own.  From the magenta colored planes to the smiling but somewhat snarky attitude of the flight attendants, their uniforms and best of all, just the name WOW said it all. 


But airlines come and airlines go.  If you’ve been in the travel industry as long as I have, you understand it’s just part of the natural selection process. At the bottom of the food chain are the “low cost carriers.” They are actually doomed from the start if you ask me. An airline or any other business cannot operate on a shoestring.  While it may be nice for an airline to advertise uber low fares, they still have to maintain their planes, hire qualified pilots and have some savings for a rainy day, when something goes wrong and you need a back-up plan.  Low cost carriers usually have great fares, a few planes and a “fly by the seat of their pants” position. It’s not sustainable. Add to that the large giants of the sky, the competing carriers who are ready to wage an all out war when a low cost carrier comes into the market.  Advertising picks up, fares drop to match the new airline and before you know it, the new carrier can’t compete with the big dogs.

So while I am sad to see another carrier go, it was only a matter of time.  So long WOW. C’est la vie. Or as they say in Icelandic, svo lengi.

 

Calgary Stampede

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

by Erin


We are so excited to have the opportunity to bring another group to the Canadian Rockies this summer!  The scenery is stunning, the pictures you take will make your friends jealous and you get to experience the incredible Calgary Stampede!


What exactly is the Stampede, you may ask?  Well, it’s only the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth! The Calgary Stampede is an annual, 10-day rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta. It attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions and chuckwagon racing. It is North America’s premier rodeo and western festival and a unique western experience for the world to enjoy. 


The city takes on a party atmosphere during Stampede: office buildings and storefronts are painted in cowboy themes, residents don western wear and events held across the city include hundreds of pancake breakfasts and barbecues.


The Calgary Stampede Rodeo features the world’s best competitors and animals. Every afternoon, cowboys and cowgirls face off in a furious display of skill and grit, with every win building towards Showdown Sunday – the World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo.


One of Canada’s largest music festivals, the Calgary Stampede features numerous musical performances from established and emerging artists in a variety of genres, both at Stampede Park and around the city.  The Calgary Stampede Evening Show is a unique entertainment experience taking place nightly. The evening includes a derby, chuckwagon races and is followed by the Grandstand Show, dazzling audiences with elaborate song and dance numbers and acrobatics, capped off with spectacular fireworks!


So if you’re looking for a truly unique experience this summer, the Calgary Stampede is your ticket!  Grab your boots and your cowboy hat, throw on a big belt buckle and explore this awesome party with us this July!

Canadian Rockies & Calgary Stampede trip info is available by clicking here.

Cooking Class: Irish Scones

Friday, March 15th, 2019

by Erin


One of the favorite experiences that we have offered on past trips to Ireland is a scone making lesson on a local farm.  Our scone making class was a memory we could take home and share with others. So in honor of the upcoming celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we thought we’d share the recipe so you can have a taste of Ireland at home!

Ireland blog3
Irish Scones

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

So whether you are celebrating with scones, green beer, a parade or chasing leprechauns, we wish you a happy St. Patty’s Day!

Our Bucket List

Monday, March 11th, 2019

We are lucky to have the opportunity to go to amazing destinations as part of our job, but get asked all the time, “where do you want to go next”?  Just like you, we each have our own personal bucket list that we keep adding to.  So what is at the top of each of our lists?

Malori: Antelope Canyon, Arizona. Those who know me know I love to be outdoors and I love to hike.  I get inspired by nature and the visual beauty of Antelope Canyon makes me want to jump right in and explore!

Courtesy of the Arizona Office of Tourism

Erin:  There are so many places I want to go, but I really want to go to Peru.  I would love to push myself to do the Inca Trail, ending the 4 day hike with the incredible views of Machu Picchu!


Michele:
I can’t wait to go to the Canadian Rockies.  I love the majestic beauty and being able to be surrounded by nature. The colors are just amazing and you get different scenery at every turn.

Stacey: I’d love to spend more time in Thailand. I can’t get over all of the gorgeous wats (temples)!  Combine that with green countryside, a plethora of beautiful Buddhas and delicious food, I’d love to immerse myself into the culture and country of Thailand.

We want to know what’s at the top of your bucket list, too!  We may already be planning a trip there for you to get excited about and we are always open to your suggestions to plan upcoming adventures!

Hanukkah Shopping Guide: Travelers Edition 2018

Monday, November 19th, 2018

With Hanukkah coming early this year, the holiday will sneak up on you before you know it! Rather than racking your brain trying to find that perfect gift for friends and family (or telling others what we want), Amazing Journeys to the rescue! Here is our 8 Nights of Hanukkah Travel Gift Idea list! Buy for others or share the list as a hint to what you want!

Scratch-Off World Map Poster

Most travelers fancy themselves explorers, even though they’re most likely not staking claims and charting maps anymore. But that doesn’t mean crossing countries off bucket lists doesn’t offer the same winning feeling. Give something that reminds someone of what they’ve conquered. They will soon be saying, “been there, scratched that!” Available here.


Selfie Remote Shutter

Selfie sticks are so last season. Or two seasons ago. In fact, some places have even taken to banning them altogether (Milan, Disney World, the Colosseum). Thankfully for solo travelers the world over, there’s a discreet alternative that doesn’t simultaneously scream “tourist.” Mooni’s selfie remote shutter uses Bluetooth to sync with smartphones so photo takers can get shots without holding their phones at all. With Mooni, users can set their phones on something, step back as much as 30 feet and press the little shutter button to take a picture. It’s the end of the awkward photos with arms in the forefront. Available here.


Translating Earbuds

Blank stares in the face of foreign languages will soon be a thing of the past. Google’s Bluetooth Pixel Buds headphones offer a real-time translation feature that’s like an on-hand personal interpreter. A touch of the right ear bud activates Google Assistant on the phone, and the user can say, “Google, help me speak Mandarin.” All it takes from there is talking into the phone in English and the app will transcribe the sentence in Chinese and say it out loud. The Chinese speaker in the conversation can also talk into the phone and the buds will translate that back to English. There are 40 languages that this whole exchange could work with. Available here.


‘I Was Here’ Travel Journal

For the creative traveler, this unconventional journal has far more to it than blank pages waiting to be filled. It’s beautifully illustrated from cover to cover and offers fun challenges and prompts that encourage users to explore the world in a more whimsical way. Available here.


4-in-1 Adapter

This compact converter enables travelers to plug in in 150 countries, and it comes with a color-coded map to make it easy to determine which prong situation accompanies their destination.  Available here.


Instant Camera

There will always be something that feels more authentic about holding a photograph in your hand over saving it into a digital roll. This stylish instant camera is a step above others on the market, offering shooting modes for different environments and a smart flash that calculates exposure based on the distance of the subject for a just-right brightness. Available here.


How to Pack

A must-read for anyone who hopes to master packing, this gorgeously illustrated book by Hitha Palepu of the lifestyle blog Hitha on the Go offers advice on not just what to bring, but the best way to bring it, too. Available here.


Amazing Journeys Gift Certificates

Not sure where you want to go next but itching to travel? Gift certificates help to get you on your next life changing vacation. Available here.

 

Looking for more ideas?  Check out our suggestions from 2014, 20152016 and 2017!

Enjoy your holiday shopping, happy Hanukkah and hope to travel with you soon!

Screenshot Your Travel Documents

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

 

Your mobile boarding pass should always be a tap or two away from your home screen. You’ve got a link to it in your email or your texts, or you’re sure you put it into Apple Wallet. But should isn’t always good enough when you get up to the TSA desk and the airport’s wifi is flaking out. Always take a screenshot.

Screenshotting everything is an indispensable travel hack. (On iPhone, hold down the power and home buttons at the same time; on Android, it’s usually the power and volume-down buttons.) This way, the information you should have available will always be in your photos app. That said, your photos aren’t super private, say if you were to hand your phone over to somebody, so consider whether you want to keep that information in your camera roll long-term.

While you’re traveling, consider screenshotting:

– Any emails with a confirmation number (like your hotel booking)
– The addresses and phone numbers of any person or place you plan to visit
– Maps and directions, even if your map app should have that data available offline – you know better than to rely on should.
– Any important information that came to you in an email or text, or that requires a special app (even something as simple as a PDF reader) to view.

This is, of course, in addition to taking snapshots of street maps, signs, and any important piece of paper that crosses your path. Have everything in your photos app, and it will be right there when you need it.

 

Edited from lifehacker