Family vacation

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance…? My clients often ponder the question about whether or not to purchase travel insurance. I ALWAYS recommend it (and NOT just during hurricane season).

You may be familiar with insurance protecting your travel investment against things like cancellation or if a hurricane disrupts your trip. But did you know the travel insurance can also protect you against trip delay such as a late flight preventing you from making your connecting flight or if Mother Nature prevents you from getting home and you have additional out-of-pocket expenses), lost or delayed baggage, as well as medical assistance needed while traveling. 

These are all things that I’ve needed while traveling. And trust me, visiting a hospital outside of your home country is not the type of excursion you’d like to experience during your vacation. 

I’ve had clients use insurance for various reasons including emergency surgery days before their departure, death of a family member, accidents that prevented them from traveling, changes in employment that didn’t grant them ample vacation days, developing hurricanes that prevented them from traveling back home because of airport closures, engagements that ended before the honeymoon…And these are just to name a few. 

The fact of the matter is you never know what life has in store and traveling is a big investment in time and money, so it’s best to spend a little bit more and protect your investment and have a piece of mind.  

    
 

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Categories: Best travel agent, caribbean, cruise, disney, Exumas, Family vacation, honeymoon, Insurance, Jamaica, Mexico, Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho rios, travel, Trip insurance, vacation, Vacation protection | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Honeymooning in Mexican Paradise

I can’t believe I have not published this yet- I guess I’m a bit of a blog slacker…!

This article is from the Fall/Winter issue of Beautiful Bride; it features one of the most popular destinations for my honeymooners, destination weddings and family vacations- MEXICO!

Over the summer I had the good fortune of spending nearly two weeks in the Riviera Maya region (I know, tough job, but someone has to do it!). I truly love this region of Mexico.  The resorts are top notch, the food is to die for and the people are so friendly.

I am based in the ATL, so many of my clients are based in the Southeast.  Traveling to Mexico is not only a short and easy flight, it is also an affordable getaway. This article features some of my favorite resorts and activities in this region of Mexico.

Thank you for reading and HAPPY TRAVELS!

Bride Fall pages 74-75

 

Categories: Beaches, Best travel agent, caribbean, Family vacation, honeymoon, Mexico, romantic, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Caribbean is Calling

In just a few short days I embark upon a two week journey to the Caribbean… I know tough work, but somebody has to do it!

My travel starts in the outer islands of the Bahamas at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Exumas. 

From there I’ll travel to Turks and Caicos where I’ll spend a few days at my friend’s seaside villa. 

Finally, I’ll spend just over a week in Mexico. For part of my trip I’ll join a group of travel agents where we will tour and visit several resorts in Riviera Maya and Cancun. Finally, end my trip with a few days and Playa Mujeres. 

I love my job as a travel agent and I am beyond excited to lay my eyes on these glorious locations and share my knowledge and experience with you. 

Happy Travels! 

Contact me for complimentary travel planning 🙂

 Melissa@mytravelingpanda.com 

Categories: Beaches, caribbean, Exumas, Family vacation, honeymoon, romantic, travel, Turks and Caicos, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Passport? No Problem! A Tropical Vacation without a Passport is Possible!

photo 4When Beautiful Bride asks me to write an article for their publication, I tend to focus on some of my honeymoon hotspots such as Mexico, Jamaica, Europe, Hawaii, etc.  This time, they asked if I could focus on a new destination that didn’t require a passport.  The US Virgin Islands is the perfect fit!  Here is the article I wrote for the Winter/Spring 2015 issue.  Enjoy 🙂 and be sure to let me know how I can help you with your next vacation! Here is the link 🙂 Pages from BB Winter Spring 2014-15

Categories: caribbean, cruise, Family vacation, honeymoon, MoBay, romantic, travel, vacation | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Supporting the Fight Against MS!

As you may know, my younger sister Jessica fights a daily battle against Multiple Scerlosis (MS).  On the outside, you would never know the struggles she faces each day – she endures the pain and challenges with both courage and strength. 

Each year, she forms a team, The LeClaire Lions, to raise money for the MS Society. This year, My Traveling Panda is a proud sponsor of the team shirts! My adorable nephew Benjamin models the 2015 shirts 🙂

If you would like to learn more about MS, or to make a donation, here is the team link. 

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/GAAWalkEvents?px=10455323&pg=personal&fr_id=25189





Categories: Family vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Athens, Greece: Worth a Visit!

I wasn’t sure to expect upon visiting Athens. I’ve had friends who visited here with mixed reviews and many of my clients who want to visit Greece say they don’t really consider Athens as a priority. So I wanted to answer the question I get asked by my clients, “is it worth a visit?”

I arrived Athens after I’d been to Santorini and Mykonos, which are absolute gems of the Greek Isles. I’m very pleased that I spent a few days discovering this Ancient city so I can share with my clients what they can expect WHEN they decide to visit, because YES, it’s worth it!

I took an Athens free guided walking tour, I visited the Parthenon, did some shopping and of course ate delicious Greek food!

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Categories: Athens, Family vacation, Greece, honeymoon, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Couples Choice Award for 2015!

A Big thank you to all of my happy clients who have taken the time to not only submit such glowing reviews, but who have given me the opportunity to help them with their travels in 2014! THANK YOU!!!

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Categories: Best travel agent, caribbean, cruise, disney, Family vacation, honeymoon, italy, Jamaica, MoBay, Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho rios, romantic, travel, vacation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Riding the Roads of Jamaica

I have many clients who stress concern about the road conditions in Jamaica.

I just returned from a two week trip to Jamaica and I rode nearly every road from Montego Bay to go Ocho Rios, back to Montego Bay, onto Negril and then back to Montego Bay again. I found the roads to be well-paved and much of the scenery to be very pleasant as you can see in the pictures below.

You pass many scenic vistas, pass by local Schools and churches, as well as small Parrish centres.

Many resorts include complimentary transportation and often the driver will stop midway to your destination so you can grab a cold beer and try some local jerk chicken. Or if you prefer to be a VIP, you can get a private transfer in a luxury sedan equipped with cold beverages and snacks. I had the privilege of enjoying this on my arrival into Jamaica on the drive from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios.

If you are staying in Whitehouse, the roads are a bit precarious, but the drivers are very skilled and knowledgeable.

Overall I believe the roads in Jamaica are very well suited for tourists and the shuttle and private drivers are very skilled at getting you to your destination.

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Categories: Beaches, caribbean, Family vacation, honeymoon, Jamaica, Ocho rios, travel, vacation | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Trip Insurance- Get It!!

Clients often ask, “should I get travel insurance?” My advice, “yes!!!”

You never know what can happen when you are on vacation. It may not be hurricane season, or your credit card may cover lost luggage, but crazy things or accidents may happen.

I was once on vacation in St Lucia. It was hurricane season and a hurricane had just passed through St Lucia,but it not effect the island. It did however impact Miami. Many people who fly in and out of St Lucia have layovers in Miami. The storm was severe enough to close the Miami airport, thus, impacting travel plans as passengers were delayed in leaving St Lucia or arriving to St Lucia. The travel insurance helped to pay for accommodations that where not a part of the initial trip.

A trip to a public hospital in a foreign country or shelling out huge amounts of money because a storm alters your trip is not something I recommend for my clients. However, getting trip insurance is something I do suggest- to protect you from unforeseen circumstances when you travel.

Categories: caribbean, Family vacation, honeymoon, Jamaica, romantic, travel, Trip insurance, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beaches Ocho Rios

I’ve stayed at several Sandals Resorts, but never their family-friendly counterpart, Beaches.

I have to say, the service had been stupendous and I’ve only been here a few hours. Before I even left the airport, I was given VIP treatment. A rep from the Jamaican Tourist Board met me at the airport terminal and escorted be through customs and baggage claim before taking me to the Beaches welcome lounge. Once there, I was informed I would have a private transfer, in a luxury car, courtesy of Island Routes. This was amazing- cold drinks, snacks, and a friendly driver.

About two hours later, I arrived to the resort and was promptly greeted by a friendly bellhop, with a scented cold cloth and tropical beverage. I was then walked to the VIP check-in and I was told I have been put into a Concierge room- yay!! Upon my arrival, the front desk staff was nothing but friendly and helpful, m as was the management.

I am staying in the Greek Village at Beaches Ocho Rios. My room is equipped with a minibar, a private patio with lounge chairs, and a view of the Sea.

The staff has been very friendly and accommodating. In fact, the bartender at the Beach Bar, where I watched the end of a World Cup match, even created a special pineapple Mojito for me.

I am looking forward to a relaxing evening and seafood at the Neptunes restaurant. 20140618-172457-62697147.jpg

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Categories: Beaches, caribbean, Family vacation, honeymoon, Jamaica, Ocho rios, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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