Travel Blog

After being in the air for 17+ hours on flights from Salt Lake City to Sydney, one might rightly think that spending time on solid ground would be your first choice for seeing Australia; however this was not the case on my recent Amazing Aussie Adventure and Educational Conference sponsored by our friends and travel partners at Travel2. I got to experience a portion of this beautiful and diverse country affectionately known as the “Land Down Under” not “down under” but rather from “up above”; on a gondola, a canyon rim, an iconic bridge, a helicopter and a hot air balloon.

My arrival into Sydney was at 8:00 am, and I was ready to beat the jetlag with a full day of immersing myself in the New South Wales lifestyle. Our Destination NSW host, Tenille, met us at the airport and we were off to the Taronga Zoo where I got my first up-close views of koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies.

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My husband and I were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary in 2016. We decided to take a vacation to document this incredible occasion. Having lived and traveled together for many years we know what works for each of us. Both of us love to explore cities by walking, eating and meeting the locals but my husband does not like crowds and I don’t like wasting time in airports and train stations.

We decided on a Danube River cruise with AMA Waterways. AMA Waterways offer small vessels that transport approximately 150 passengers though 3 countries in 7 days. You can board the ship, unpack and begin your adventure. Our trip began with the illumination cruise around the riverfront of Budapest Hungary. Some of the highlights were the Parliament building and the beautiful lighted bridges we sailed under.

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I won a 4 night stay at the Secrets Akumal property near Tulum, Mexico. The resort will be a year old next week and is very clean and the staff is extremely helpful. I stayed in an Ocean View Suite on the 4th floor. The rooms are large with the stone marble floors and tiles. Over the palm trees, I could see the beautiful ocean and of course there are the beach front rooms. The beach is wonderful, nice and wide with soft white sand. There is wonderful snorkeling in front of the property with lots of fish and turtles. There are 3 lovely pools. The one closest to the main building is the quietest, the middle pool is nice and the one closest to the ocean had a swim up bar and was very busy.

The beautiful grounds have the fire pits, cabanas, hammocks, swings and many areas sectioned of for water with one pond full of fish. They do have a nice spa, and we enjoyed the nightly entertainment with shows and music. We were able to sit on our lanai and listen to the music.

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One of the first things that come to mind when you mention the Hard Rock is rock stars and parties.

But the All-Inclusive Resorts have taken over and made an incredible and family friendly experience at their properties in Mexico and the Caribbean.

I had the chance to journey to the Hard Rock All-Inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republice. Once I saw the beach and felt how soft the sand was I knew the journey was worth it.

I mean talk about Gorgeous! The Hard Rock has a prime location on Bavaro Beach, with just a 15- 20 minute drive from the airport to the resort, and they have certainly added in the wow factor to the resort.

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My husband and I were going to Miami for the NASCAR race at Miami Homestead so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to take the 4 day Bahamas cruise.

We arrived the day before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay. It is a lovely hotel. We stayed in a corner room with a panoramic view of the bay. There is a marina at the hotel and nearby is a bridge that lifts to allow larger boats through the road. They have a nice restaurant outside by the marina so you can enjoy the warm weather.

We cruised on RCCL Enchantment of the Seas. It is an older ship but has been remodeled and does not show its age. Embarkation was speedy and within 30 minutes of arriving at the ship, we were seated in the buffet enjoying lunch. We stayed in a junior suite at the aft of the ship. The cabin had a large balcony so we spent a lot of time taking in the views.

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