Savor the moments

Spain 1

Aaron, Jim, Jordana and a little friend, 2005

It’s hard to believe One World Family Travel is 10 years old already. When I first opened this business, my children were 4 and 7. My full focus was traveling with kids because that’s what I knew best.   Now those children are 15 and 18.   My oldest is getting ready to graduate high school and head off to college with a future bright but unknown.

As the years have gone by and my children, as well as those of many of my wonderful clients, have gotten older,  I have redefined for the business what exactly I consider to be family travel.  It’s not just travel with little ones. It’s travel with teens, it’s honeymoons, it’s multigenerational travel. I am here to create the perfect vacation for the whole family, regardless of age.  But, I can’t stop thinking about what motivated me to create One World Family travel in the first place, sharing my love of traveling with the kids.

Grand Canyon 038

Grand Canyon, 2008

Can so much time really have passed since our daughter’s first trip to Key West when she was 11 months old? Or our son’s first trip to Disney at the tender age of 4 months? What about Spain when they were 3 and 6? I don’t want to believe they are anything but those cute children mesmerized by the Barbary monkeys grabbing their snacks in Gibraltar.

This summer, we’re heading off on a grand, dream trip to celebrate our daughter’s graduation – a few nights in Rome and a Greek Isles cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas. As I have been planning this trip, I can’t help but wonder where has the time gone?  Have we traveled enough with the kids, done enough with them? Will this be the last real family vacation with the four of us? Oh, how I hope not.  My husband keeps saying it very well could be, but I

oasis-of-the-seas-2012-154.jpg

Labadee, Haiti, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, 2012

refuse to believe it. While I want our children to go out and create their own adventures – and oh, how I hope they create amazing ones – I also hope they will continue to want to travel with us as long as possible.  There is still so much I want to show them.

I know we are blessed and fortunate to be able to have taken them on some wonderful family vacations around the US and the world.  But traveling doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive or far-flung. The point is, wherever you choose, DO IT.  That was always my thought.  Start them traveling early and you will give them a gift – the love of travel.  More than one person has told me they thought their children were too young to take on vacation because they wouldn’t remember it.  If that were truly the case,

IMG_2549

The little stinkers now, 2017

then we would never do anything.  We wouldn’t take them to the zoo, or to visit the grandparents.  You never know if they will remember, but you will.   Don’t hold off on traveling with your children because you think they’re too young, or the timing just doesn’t feel right.  Create those memories and savor those moments. Because before you know it, they’ll be ready to leave the nest, leaving you wondering what on earth just happened?

 

 

I’m back!

Oy!  I started this blog a few years ago with the intent of making it a regular part of my personal and business lives.  And like many things with good intentions, it fell by the wayside in a BIG way.  That is done.

I am back and committed to this blog.  I promise.  One World Family Travel has been updating its image.  We have a new logo and are in the process of redesigning our website site for a cleaner, sleeker look.  It’s an exciting process, and I can’t wait to share all my new experiences and knowledge with you!

If there is a particular topic you want me to write about, please let me know.  I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration.

Thank you!

Touring the Carnival Pride

As a travel agent, it’s my responsibility to keep with all the constantly evolving word of travel.  That’s done through constant continuing education.  On a day to day basis, that means taking one of the vast variety of courses available through my suppliers.  However, that never, ever can replace actual, hands-on experience with a travel product.

Living within driving distance of many different cruise ports, I’m lucky enough to be able to tour some of the many ships that call the East Coast home.  Last Sunday, I headed to Baltimore to tour the Carnival Pride which sails year round from that bustling port.

What a great ship for a convenient getaway!  Perfect for a group of families wanting to get together.  Itineraries include the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean as well as some Bermuda sailings.  You can check it out yourself by taking a look at some of the pictures I took.  Have any questions?  Please feel free to call or email me.

https://www.facebook.com//#!/media/set/?set=a.194738443907484.48916.144318172282845

Cruise close to home! Take a cruise from Baltimore!

Imagine this. You wake up on a dreary Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s been raining for days, and the temperature has been hovering around the mid-40s. Yet, in a matter of hours, you are on your way to the Caribbean or Bahamas. And the best thing? You haven’t set foot in an airport.
How is that possible? By taking a cruise from Baltimore! With over 30 cruise ports in the United States, “cruising close to home” is easier than ever. What better way for Maryland residents to try out this dynamic style of vacationing than leaving from a port right in their own backyard?
According to the Cruise Lines Industry Association, 14 million people cruised in 2010. 210,549 of those passengers left from the Port of Baltimore on 91 cruises last year, besting the 2009 record, says the Maryland Department of Transportation. Why not add yourself to that statistic?
In 2011, there will be 112 cruises leaving from Baltimore on 2 different cruise lines. Carnival will operate the Carnival Pride to the Bahamas, Bermuda and Eastern Caribbean, while Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas will sail to New England/Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. These sailings operate year round with departures every week, so there is an itinerary for all possible dates. With amenities such as water slides, mini-golf, rock-climbing walls, children’s programs and more, both cruise lines are convenient and offer family-friendly options and activities for all ages.
Think about it. You are on your way to a tropical destination without enduring pat-downs, flight delays and cramped seats. And let’s not forget about the difference between cruise food and airline food (or the lack of it). You will only have to unpack once, but get to experience several different destinations on one trip without the hassle of flying. The opportunities for fun and adventure on your cruise getaway are endless. You can be as active as you want – snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing are all waiting for you on your tropic vacation. Or, you can just lounge by the pool or on the beach doing absolutely nothing.
All of that can be achieved right from your own backyard. So cruise close to home and check out a vacation right from the Port of Baltimore!

This article can also be found at http://www.examiner.com/family-travel-in-baltimore/cruise-close-to-home-take-cruise-from-baltimore

Time to Get Back In the Saddle

I am so ashamed and mad at myself.  I joined the Travel Agent Blog Project with every intention of doing regular blog posts here.  And what did I do?  Fizzled out in February. 

Well, it’s time to get back in the saddle and get moving!  If ever you see that I am slacking here, feel free to contact me to let me know!

Thanks!

Ilisa

A Family Vacation For a Very Special Family

The thing about family travel, is that you quickly realize there is no such thing as a typical family.   The concept of a family vacation sounds generic, but it’s anything but.    The key to planning a successful and memorable trip for my families is qualifying them and LISTENING to their needs.  While I like to say I plan a trip as if I am planning one for my family, I have to remember that it is not my family, and that I have to put my needs, wants and budget aside.

Last year, I received an email from a family that found me in the phone book.  The mother was in the military and was getting ready to deploy to Iraq for at least a year.  She and her husband had a 6 year old daughter and they wanted to plan one last vacation before she left.  In asking them a series of questions, I learned they had a healthy budget and that the destination/locale was not as important as the actual accommodation.  Meaning, they didn’t care which country they were in as long as they could find a resort that had plenty of activities for their little girl, and ensured that they had nothing to do enjoy the trip.  They wanted to relax and just enjoy the last time they had together for a while.

Beaches Turks and Caicos fit the bill.  A cruise was my first, instant thought, but that wasn’t truly all-inclusive and would require the family to concern themselves with things like onboard accounts.  Of course, Disney – the favorite vacation for so many of my clients – is simply not relaxing.   The only solution was an all-inclusive, and not just any one.  At Beaches, the family did not have to lift a finger.  They were pampered and relaxed.  Their daughter had the vacation of a lifetime and Mom went to Iraq with priceless family memories.

I can’t say I saved them money as I don’t compete.  I get my clients the best price I can get through reputable sources without compromising quality and service.  My goal for all clients is to make sure all they have to do is go and enjoy their trip.  Were they happy with my service?  Well, when mom had an idea of when she would have her mid-tour leave, they contacted me again.  That trip proved to have some more challenges because leave time is not set and stone and because it can take up to 3 days to get home.    But, we pulled it off, booking them a relatively last minute trip at the Azul Sensatori in Mexico. 

Mom is home now and we’re working on the next trip.  I am eternally grateful for her service to our country.

Food, Glorious Food

When traveling with kids, the one thing that always preoccupies us is food (ok, so maybe you don’t have to travel with kids to be preoccupied with food, but I digress).  It’s natural to go away and worry ourselves about what our kids will eat, what they will like, etc.   We’d all love to say our kids have no pickiness whatsoever, but in reality, that’s not always the case.

My husband and I have instituted a rule when traveling.  Our kids must try one new taste every day.  It does not mean they have to like it.  It does not mean they even need to order a whole plate of it.  But, they have to be open to trying new things.   In doing this, we’ve gotten our kids to taste alligator, rabbit, cactus, rattlesnake (thank you Cowboy Cafe in Sedona, AZ!), escargot, and more.   In most cases, they have liked what they tried and they’ve developed a bit of pride in themselves for trying something different and living to tell about it.

While there is an entire world out there of delicious food, I have found that cruising offers up some of the best opportunities for the picky eater.  Besides the fact that there is the sheer variety of food and choices, you have already paid for the food in your cruise fare.    So, you shouldn’t be afraid of ordering something out of the ordinary, because the ordinary is readily available.    Our last cruise is when we did the great escargot experiment.  My husband and I already love it.  But the test was to see how our kids reacted.  As we were on a cruise, I had no problem ordering a generally pricey appetizer as a test.  My 8 year old son?  Scarfed it down and asked for more.   Our 11 year old daughter?  Thought she was going to die if she had to swallow it.    And that was ok.    Because we weren’t paying any more, we had no problem in letting her choose another appetizer to satisfy her.   

In short, it’s so important to have our little travelers step out of their comfort zones and try new things.  You never know, they may actually like the rattlesnake (which, incidentally, is quite tasty).

Previous Older Entries