A Review of “Do”s and “Don’t”s
Welcome Back to our Friday Blog Series: Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s, where our favorite Travel Planning Aficionado shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences about traveling the world! After every trip to a new destination, Jamie gives us her perspective as both a traveler, and a travel advisor, through a quick but comprehensive list of what to do or not do at each vacation location!
Although we started this series in the middle of the year, we already have a dozen installments because Jamie travels so much in the pursuit of research, so that she can always provide the clientele of Love of the Magic Vacations with the most comprehensive and up to date information about destinations around the world! How lucky we are to follow along and learn from her adventures as she always comes back with such specific advice about each location!
Just like we pulled together 2022’s List of Inspiring Itineraries all in one place, here are Jamie’s 2022 Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s altogether too, so you can easily bookmark this blog and check Jamie’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s list before you travel to see if Jamie has been wherever you’re going, and what advice she has for your destination!
Trip by Trip:
Paris and Disneyland Paris
Paris and Disneyland Paris were part of Jamie’s Epic Summer Family Vacation this year, and became the perfect way to kick off the “Do”s and “Don’t”s Blog Series, as she learned a ton about one of the most popular European cities to visit, Paris, of course, and also about the increasingly popular Disney Park, Disneyland Paris. One of Jamie’s absolute favorite experiences on this trip was the Bike Tour her family took through Paris, but read the full list for everything else she loved, and everything she suggests NOT to do, too!
The second half of Jamie’s Epic Summer Family Vacation was through Italy, another wildly popular European country to visit, which, of course, lived up to all expectations! One of Jamie’s main takeaways from her adventures through Italy was to make sure you take the tours, and not just any tours, the good ones that bring to life what you’re seeing, and the ones that whisk you to the front of the lines, too! Curious about which tours she means? Your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor knows all the right tours, and is ready to plan an amazing Italian Vacation featuring all of Jamie’s Must-“Do”s!
The Disney Wish
The Disney Wish has, without a doubt, been the most talked about Disney ship of 2022, especially in July, the month of her inaugural sail. And just like every other New-to-You Cruise Ship, one of the best things you can do on your sail is explore the ship and everything it has to offer (though having an idea ahead of time what’s aboard so you can plan what you don’t want to miss is definitely worth doing, as well). While everyone who has had the incredible opportunity to sail on the Wish agrees that it’s Disney’s most impressive ship yet, there are still some Tips and even some Must-“Don’t”s that you should know before YOUR first sail on the Wish!
Nestled deep in the Southern Caribbean, Grenada is still a relatively untapped gem of an island, making it a perfect destination for escaping it all (just what many of us are in the mood for once the busyness of the Holiday Season is over, right?). With numerous options for fantastic All-Inclusive Resorts, Grenada is definitely a great location to try out an All-Inclusive, if you’ve never experienced one before, and also a place that seasoned All-Inclusive enthusiasts will appreciate, too! But even if you stay at an All-Inclusive, don’t miss out on exploring the local culture, especially the Spice Markets, since Grenada is known as the Spice Island, after all!
Disney’s D23 Expo
If you’ve never been to Disney’s D23 Expo, it’s definitely something to experience, especially for those of us who really love Disney (it’s kind of like Comic Con for Disney Fans!), and it takes place every other year near Disneyland in Anaheim, California. D23 is a completely different kind of experience than going to the Parks, or on a Disney Cruise, because it features announcements and reveals about the future of all things Disney, in addition to a Showcase Floor with Specialized Merchandise and Historical Artifacts. But, like Jamie says, don’t go without a plan; your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor is ready with all the information you need to experience this totally different Disney Event!
A Special Edition of “Do”s and “Don’t”s brought to you by the dozens of Love of the Magic Travel Advisors who took part in an unforgettable Virgin Voyages Adventure! If you are looking for the Ultimate Adults-Only Cruise Experience, Virgin Voyages is the perfect Cruise Line for you. With themed parties, outrageous nightly entertainment, and top-of-the-line cuisine, Virgin has made sure any experience sailing with them is next-level. Just be sure to check out the Love of the Magic Vacations Team’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s before you board for all the expert recommendations you’ll need!
As often as you may have been to the Caribbean, there seems to always be a new island or set of islands to discover. The Exumas are a series of islands within the Bahamas that are grouped into Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and the Exuma Cays. Since The Exumas are toward the Northern end of the Caribbean (not far from Nassau), they are a relatively shorter trip from many East Coast locations compared to some other island destinations (and are less crowded than well-known places like Nassau). Since The Exuma Cays are a long string of tiny islands, most of which are privately owned with huge mansions built to offer the best ocean views, one of the best activities while visiting is a boat tour of the Cays, second only to swimming with the pigs, of course, which is definitely a Must-“Do” in The Exumas!
Halloween in the Orlando Theme Parks
Strategizing for Holiday Events in the Orlando Theme Parks is a whole different ball game than strategizing for any other time of year, and with Disney’s Halloween Celebration beginning each year in August and lasting through October 31st, that makes for a solid two-and-a-half months of adjusted planning. Between Disney and Universal, you’ll want to plan in time for the After Hours Parties, like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney, and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal; you’ll want to make sure to see your favorite characters dressed up in their Halloween Costumes; and you’ll definitely want to seek out all the delectable treats specially made for Trick-or-Treat Season!
Sometimes it seems like the world is divided into two groups of people when it comes to certain things, and Holiday Travel is one of them: there are those who always go on vacation or to visit family during the holidays, and those who hunker down and refuse to leave home during the busiest Travel Season of the year. With so many people falling into the category of vacationing or visiting family, including Jamie most of the time, there are some tried and true strategies that Jamie has come up with in order to get through Holiday Travel without allowing the chaos of the journey take away from enjoying your destination!
Navigating Genie+ and Lightning Lane
Speaking of divides among people, Genie+ seems to be another thing that people either love or hate, but no matter which side you fall on, figuring out how to best use Genie+ and Lightning Lane to your advantage has almost become a necessity to at least enjoying your days at the Disney Parks, and a definite necessity for maximizing your time at the Parks. While these “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Navigating Genie+ and Lightning Lane at the Parks reflect the latest changes that were made to the system, there are sure to be more updates and changes as Disney refines these systems, and as Disney works to keep up with the times and the needs of its treasured clientele, which will all be reflected in updates to the blog as needed. So definitely bookmark this blog for reference whenever you’re visiting the Parks and want to know the latest on Genie+ and Lightning Lane.
Like so many European countries, Portugal is a delight for everyone from foodies to history buffs to shopping aficionados to beach lovers! While larger cities, such as Lisbon, boast famous museums, Michelin Star restaurants, and art that literally lines the pavement, there is so much more to visit in any country than just the big cities. Portugal is famous for its wine country, centuries-old architecture, and pristine beaches, both along the coast of the mainland, and on the islands, such as Madeira and the Azores, which dot the Atlantic Ocean (and sometimes known as Portugal’s Hawaii) and offer a mix of both luxury and adventure. Clearly, Portugal has something to offer for everyone!
Holidays in the Orlando Theme Parks
As mentioned earlier with regard to Halloween, Holidays in the Orlando Theme Parks require more further knowledge and planning than any other ordinary day at a Theme Park. If you’ll be visiting Orlando during the months of November and December, you’ll definitely want to plan to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, and Grinchmas in Seuss Landing, and of course a visit to Harry Potter World is a must as well! There are so many extra things to see and do throughout the Theme Parks that you might even want to plan to stay a few extra days if your schedule allows for it (there are some free activities that may help counter the cost of extra time!). However, since the Holidays tend to be the most crowded and most expensive time at the Orlando Theme Parks, be sure to check out the list of “Do”s and “Don’t”s to be as prepared as possible!
Overall Travel “Do”s and “Don’t”s
Although Jamie traveled to such a variety of places in the six months since starting this “Do”s and “Don’ts” Blog Series, from islands in the middle of the ocean to theme parks practically in her own backyard, there are still some Overall Travel “Do”s and “Don’t”s that apply to any trip, all of which will be helpful as you plan for any 2023 Travel!
So Let’s Plan Some Adventures for 2023! But First…
Top Favorites and Jamie’s “Must-Do” Travel Experiences
Have a plan
Like most things over the last few years, the Travel World is not the same as it once was. These days, with limited supplies and limited staff, it’s much more difficult to travel with the attitude of seeing where the wind takes you and hoping for the best. Airplane tickets and car rentals are at premium demand and premium prices, so without having a plan, you could possibly wind up stranded somewhere you don’t want to be; museums and cultural institutions almost all require advance tickets or reservations; theme parks (as we all know) require reservations months in advance, and even restaurants, sometimes not even just the ones at Disney, if you’re trying to get into anything super high end or Michelin-Starred, also require reservations months in advance. If you really must just “go where the wind takes you,” be prepared for it to not always take you everywhere you actually want to go…
Experience Local Culture
It’s been said before and will be said again and again, because it bears repeating that the very best part of travel is experiencing new things, new cultures, new traditions, new ways of life besides our own. It is the people and their local culture that bring any destination to life. Seeing a world outside of our own everyday life, and meeting people whose beliefs and traditions are different from our own, are the things that keep our minds and hearts open to diversity. Getting to experience local culture helps us to see beauty in the unfamiliar, instead of fearing it or creating divides because of it. In our often-divided world, travel unites us and brings people together. And it’s a huge reason why we at Love of the Magic Vacations love and believe in what we do so much, we are so grateful to be able to plan journeys that create lifelong memories for our clients through their travel experiences, and we are also grateful to know we are building bridges throughout the world as well, one client and one trip at a time!
Top Tips that Jamie Learned Along the Way
Always Pack Your Patience
If we’ve all learned anything about travel over the last few years, it’s that things don’t always go exactly according to schedule anymore (honestly, did they ever, really?). There may be flight delays, there may be longer lines than expected, and there will probably be more crowds with fewer staff to serve the masses, but in the end, you (with the help of your trusted LOTMV Travel Advisor), will get where you need to go. And instead of looking at the situation from a negative point of view (by thinking about how terrible the crowds and lines and delays may be), take the knowledge that you will need extra patience and put it to good use, because almost everything is easier when you know what to expect going into it. Be prepared with a phone charger if that helps you on long lines, or a book for flight delays, and always try to remember that “you get more bees with honey than with vinegar,” so choose kindness over chaos. Pack your patience and you’ll arrive to your destination in a much better mood (and likely with lower blood pressure, too).
Top “Must-Don’t”s, or Things Jamie Would Do Differently
Don’t Travel Without Insurance
Although travel insurance was once thought of as a rarely needed add-on, it has now become a necessity when traveling. Between viruses and extreme weather and flight cancellations and generally any unforeseeable occurrence, it is way, way safer to protect the investment of your trip with travel insurance than to leave the whole thing up to chance without it. It’s a very simple way to have peace of mind about your trip, and there’s no good reason not to protect your trip with travel insurance.
Don’t Just Wing-It Without a Travel Advisor
All of us at Love of the Magic Vacations sincerely love what we do; we love to travel ourselves, and we are passionate about helping other people experience the world in new ways and about creating opportunities that bring families together and make memories that will be passed down for generations. And at the same time, we all still know people who are skeptical about why using a Travel Advisor is necessary.
So just imagine for a moment planning your next trip, and all the questions you have to ask yourself and figure out the answers to:
– What’s the best time of year to visit your chosen destination? Your Travel Advisor already knows.
– What are the best places to stay? Your Travel Advisor will already have a list to choose from.
– How should you structure your trip? Your Travel Advisor is ready with Inspiring Itineraries for any location.
– When is the best time to purchase airfare? Your Travel Advisor knows!
– What are the best tours and how do you get tickets? Your Travel Advisor has all the inside info!
– What/When/Where/Why/How for anything about travel? Your Travel Advisor either knows or knows where and how to find out any information you need!
And besides answering all of your questions, your Travel Advisor takes care of all the details so you don’t have to worry about a thing, in addition to spending hours on the phone fixing any issues that arise so that you don’t have to use your own time doing so. In most other situations, no one questions going to a professional in the field, and most people view professional knowledge and experience as worth the expense; with Travel Advisors, there is often either no extra expense, or a minimal cost for extra services, and Travel Advisors provide you with professional Travel expertise and services to make your vacations the best travel experiences possible. With everything a Travel Advisor has to offer, there’s no reason NOT to use a Travel Advisor, plus you brighten our days by allowing us to do what we love!
Ready To Plan?
Now that you have the rundown of all of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s for 2022, plus her Bonus Overall Travel “Do”s and “Don’t”s, are you ready to plan your journeys of 2023? Your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor is waiting to hear from you to get started planning your next adventure!
Don’t Forget: A new list of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s comes out the Friday after Jamie returns from her latest trip!
And be sure to check out our Inspiring Itineraries as well, featuring a Perfect Plan for your next vacation, and highlighting a new destination each month!
Contact your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor or email hello@LOTMV.com to start planning today!