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.  


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

Jamaica: One Love Honeymoon Destination

My friend Heather, who is a small business owner and personal organizer (Simply Organized) inspired me to start writing more blogs. So here I am, finally posting my article published in the Fall/Winter 2014 Beautiful Bride magazine. As the article states (and as you may note from some of my earlier posts), I spent a couple of weeks in Jamaica this summer. While there I visited 15 resorts! I really like seeing and experiencing the resorts where I send my clients. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and wisdom with my brides, grooms, families, etc.

Here is a nice write-up recapping some of my insight from my summer.





Categories: Beaches, caribbean, honeymoon, Jamaica, MoBay, Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho rios, romantic, travel, Uncategorized, 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!!!


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.










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

Couples Resorts in Ocho Rios

Today I toured the two Couples Resorts in Ocho Rios, Couples Tower Isle and Couples San Souci.

These resorts are very different, but equally beautiful.

I was warmly greeted at San Souci. The lobby is bright and cheerful with lush tropical views to the sea below. The resort is built into a cliff, so if you choose this resort, be prepared to walk up and down lots of steps. The resort is already lovely, but they are undergoing some renovations and will be updating their rooms. These changes will certainly add to the charm and ambiance. There is an entire section of the property with a beach, pool, bar, etc for nude sunbathing as well.

If you prefer to sunbathe in your swimsuit, the main beach is very private. In fact, you feel like you are on your own little corner of paradise or your own deserted island. I was also surprised by the size if the resort (as in the number of a acres on which it sits). I was also surprised by the lily pond. There were countless turtles and it seemed like a tranquil alternative to the beach. The lush tropic landscaping and scenery reminded of Hawaii.

Tower Isle is just five minutes down the road. I was immediately struck by the incredible breeze and marvelous vistas you encounter as soon as you enter the open-air lobby. The resort was the place to be in the 1950s and it still maintains that vintage charm.

There are two pools, the more active pool and the quieter pool (which feature the iconic diving platform waterfall). There is a nice stretch of beach with many water sports. If you choose to partake in au natural sunbathing, there is a small boat that will transport you to the island, just across the cove.

I really liked the outdoor dining here as well- great way to enjoy tasty cuisine and beautiful scenery.

I will also add that in addition to abundant activities, scuba, Dunn’s River Falls excursion and more, these Couples Resorts have really high quality food and drinks even the cheeses and fruits were superior to many other all-inclusives. Truly stupendous!












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









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

Jamaica, here I come!

I am sitting at the airport waiting to board my flight to Jamaica. During my two weeks, I will stay at 4 different resorts and tour a total of 15! I am so excited to learn more about these properties so I can share my knowledge with my clients.

So far, everyone is really excited for me (well, my Mom is a little nervous). The one thing that is throwing people off is the fact that I am traveling by myself. That’s right- I’m tripping it solo!

I am sure there will be a few awkward moments, but I will soldier through and have a fabulous and educational trip!

Categories: Beaches, caribbean, Family vacation, honeymoon, Jamaica, Ocho rios, romantic, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Traveling Panda wins 2013 Bride’s Choice Award from WeddingWire.

brideschoice 2013 Atlanta, GA, January 23, 2013 – WeddingWire, the nation’s leading online wedding marketplace, is thrilled to announce that Melissa Dutton and My Traveling Panda have been selected as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® 2013 for Travel and Honeymoon Planning in Atlanta and Northeast Georgia. This is the second year in a row My Traveling Panda has won this prestigious award.

The esteemed annual awards program recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. My Traveling Panda’s selection as a Bride’s Choice Award 2013 winner was selected based on the positive experiences expressed by past clients on WeddingWire, the world’s largest wedding review site with over one million reviews. While many industry awards are given by the host organization, the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with My Traveling Panda.

The WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® 2013 are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on professional achievements from the previous year. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. As a Bride’s Choice Awards winner, My Traveling Panda is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.
“Each year, WeddingWire looks forward to celebrating the success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Now in its fifth year, the Bride’s Choice Awards® program continues to recognize the elite wedding professionals who exemplify a commitment to quality, service and professionalism. These businesses were chosen by our bridal community for their responsiveness and dedication to their clients over the past year. We are honored to recognize My Traveling Panda for their impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”

My Traveling Panda is thrilled to be one of the top Honeymoon Travel Agencies in Atlanta and Northeast Georgia in the WeddingWire Network of sites, which include leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® for 2013.
For more information about My Traveling Panda please visit http://www.MyTravelingPanda.com. To learn more about the Bride’s Choice Awards®, please visit http://www.WeddingWire.com/brides-choice-awards.

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire®, the nation’s leading marketplace serving the $70 billion wedding industry, is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding professionals. For engaged couples, WeddingWire offers the ability to search, compare and book over 200,000 reviewed wedding vendors, from wedding venues to wedding photographers. WeddingWire also offers a comprehensive suite of online planning tools for weddings, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding professionals, WeddingWire is the only all-in-one marketing platform for businesses online and on-the-go. WeddingWire offers one simple solution to build a professional network, improve search visibility, manage social media and reach mobile consumers. Businesses that advertise with WeddingWire appear on WeddingWire.com, ProjectWedding.com and other leading sites, including MarthaStewartWeddings.com, Brides.com and Weddingbee.com.

Categories: Beaches, caribbean, cruise, honeymoon, Jamaica, romantic, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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