Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, marking the unofficial start of summer for many Americans. It’s a holiday to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives serving in the U.S. armed forces. It’s also become a holiday for backyard cookouts and getting out on the water. In that regard, the U.S. is blessed with myriad lakes that can be enjoyed all summer long.
Touching four states, Lake Michigan has more than 1,600 miles of shoreline and the most beaches of any lake in the country. From the popular urban beaches of Chicago — you’ll never run out of things to do on Oak Street Beach or North Avenue Beach — to the giant dunes found in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin to idyllic islands, Lake Michigan has something for those who want to be in the heart of action and those looking to get away from it all.
With clear water and a ring of mountains all around, Lake Tahoe is first and foremost a feast for the eyes. It has plenty to offer your other senses, too, serving as a playground for skiing and other winter sports during cold months and for parasailing and other water sports when the weather turns warm. Elevated hiking and biking trails offer spectacular views, and casinos on the Nevada side of the lake provided entertainment year-round. Receive exclusive amenities when staying at the Virtuoso-preferred Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe or Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.
Table Rock Lake
While nearby Lake of the Ozarks may be more well-known, Table Rock in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas has all the fun without the crowds. Stonewater Cove Resort provides miles of trails for hiking or ATV rides, zip lines, canoes, kayaks, water skiing, sunset cruises and just about anything else you can think of for a perfect day out on the lake. Head into nearby Branson to catch any of a number of country music shows or take the family to the Silver Dollar City theme park.
The history here is unparalleled, with Lake Champlain playing a key role in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Visit Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point on the New York side for an education in history or search for “Champ” the lake monster to indulge your thrill-seeking side. The Moonlight Lady replicates ships from the 1920s that frequented the lake and offers multi-day cruises for exploring the area.
With more coastline than California and famed for slot canyons, it’s easy to find a secret spot on Lake Powell for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Rainbow Bridge on the Utah side is one of the world’s biggest natural bridges, and there are plenty of open spaces to build up a head of steam for water skiing and other sports. Given the unique geological formations along the reservoir, hikers and those on Jeep tours are rewarded with breathtaking views.
Ask anyone who’s been on safari, and you’ll hear all about the transcendent beauty of sunsets, the majesty of the vast open spaces, the thrill of getting up close and personal with exotic animals. It’ll leave you with only one conclusion: You have to go see for yourself. As Richard Mullin said, “The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.” Now that’s it decided you’re going, the question is which area you should choose for your safari.
Kenya / Tanzania
When most people picture a safari, they’re thinking of East Africa. The great migration of wildebeest and zebras takes place annually across Tanzania’s Serengeti Plain and Kenya’s Masai Mara. Hundreds of thousands of animals make the trek in search of grass to graze on. The Maasai people provide an enriching cultural exchange. Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is rich in wildlife, while Olduvai Gorge is a goldmine for the study of human evolution. Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the tallest mountains in Africa and make for excellent, if challenging, climbing.
Though it’s nearly 1,000 miles long, the Okavango River never does quite find its way to the sea, instead of crashing into the sands of the Kalahari Desert to form the sublime Okavango Delta, a maze of swamp, salt and lakes that provides a staging area for a dramatic interplay of animals large and small. Botswana attracts colorful birds, a huge migration of zebra and large numbers of elephants. The San people, the famed Bushmen of the Kalahari, share insights on their culture and its relationship to the natural world.
South Africa / Namibia
A safari in South Africa offers loads of advantages. First, you can pair it with time in the spectacular city of Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands. Second, malaria-free reserves make it an ideal choice for families with young children. Private game reserves are packed with lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, and zebra. To the northwest, Namibia is a vast wilderness of sand dunes where elephants, lions, and endangered black rhinos manage to eke out a living and thousands of birds, including flamingos and pelicans, flock to the infamous Skeleton Coast.
Zambia / Zimbabwe
Separated by the Zambezi River, these two countries are more or less defined by water, making them excellent venues for abundant wildlife. The main attraction is Victoria Falls, “The Smoke That Thunders,” but each country also offers national parks filled with Cape buffalo, impalas, zebras and elephants, among many more diverse species. Zambia’s Kafue National Park is a great place for leopard-spotting, while Zimbabwe boasts splendid game-viewing along the shores of Lake Kariba.
Uganda / Rwanda
In the highlands of the Virunga Mountains that straddle these two countries, you’ll find an entirely different and rare game: gorillas. Only a few hundred mountain gorillas are left in their natural habitat, and they offer a fascinating study in primate behavior. It is in Uganda that Lake Victoria drains into the Nile River, and Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to traditional safari species. Rwanda is renowned for its wide variety of bird and plant species, including more than 100 varieties of orchids.
No doubt working with a travel advisor saves precious time both during the planning process and during your journey. But that’s hardly the extent of the value a DMC Travel Tailor advisor adds to your trip. In many cases, booking with us actually saves money in addition to providing you with amenities you can’t get on your own or through an online travel agency.
If you’ve worked with us before, you know about our affiliation with the Virtuoso network, which makes us preferred partners with the best hotels, tour operators and cruise lines in the world and provides exclusive benefits to our clients such as room upgrades, resort credits, and breakfast included when you stay at a Virtuoso hotel.
More than that, however, we cultivate strong relationships with our partners so that when we send our clients out into the world, we are placing you in the care of trusted friends. When our clients arrive, they are greeted as VIP guests and doted on by our partners. And if our clients do not receive exceptional service, we’ll hear the reason why and take steps to correct any issues while you’re in travel. Good luck getting that from an online travel agency.
The difference goes beyond Virtuoso, as we are members of just about every elite hotel amenity program there is. With Belmond’s Bellini Club, you’ll receive extra benefits on Belmond luxury trains and in their hotels. Membership in the Dorchester Collection’s Diamond Club gives our clients gives our clients guaranteed upgrades at such hotels and the Plaza Athénée in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome and The Beverly Hills Hotel. As preferred partners of Fairmont and Four Seasons, our clients receive VIP treatment at some of the most exclusive hotels and resorts in the world.
Staying with such fine hotel chains as Mandarin Oriental, Jumeirah, Rosewood, Ritz-Carlton, Rocco Forte and Starwood, you’ll enjoy complimentary breakfast, credits for use in spas or restaurants along with upgraded rooms and personalized welcomes from management. The same goes for collections such as Small Luxury Hotels and the Relais & Chateaux network of properties famed for their culinary quality and unique charm.
You simply cannot reproduce the quality of experience that working with a DMC Travel Tailor advisor by booking on your own or through an online travel agency. Every step of the way, from planning to traveling to memorializing the trip of a lifetime, you are in good hands with real live people who are dedicated to making sure your experience is one you’ll want to relive over and over. With our help, you’ll be so thrilled with your vacation, you’ll already be thinking about your next one by the time you get home.
It’s the happiest day of your life, right? But we all know there are a million different things that can go wrong on your wedding day. From minor inconveniences to major crises, there’s always some potential disaster lurking in the shadows, ready to ruin everything. Or at least, that’s how it can feel. There is a lot of planning that goes into making your day perfect, and it starts months in advance. So why not outsource some of that stress with a destination wedding? A few things to know about the process:
The whole idea behind a destination wedding is to make it fun and easy. So, you’ll need trusted people to do the legwork for you. Your travel advisor will work with you to find your ideal resort to ensure your special day is a memorable one. Your advisor can handle the details of booking rooms, flights and transportation for your guests, and also put you in touch with the wedding coordinator at your chosen resort. The wedding coordinator will offer a variety of settings and packages to choose from, and you can tailor these to your wishes or simply pick one and check another huge item off the list. The coordinators stage weddings all the time, so they know what they’re doing. Invite as many people as you want, but be aware that a significant portion of those you invite might be unable to make it, as schedules are busy and it’s tough to get away. Don’t take it personally; look at it as an opportunity to have a great vacation with your closest friends and family.
Your choice of resort is very important. Your guests will be spending several days there, so you’ll want something that offers enough entertainment for everyone. Do you want it to be all-inclusive? Do you need there to be activities for children, or do you want an adults-only atmosphere? Or, for the best of both worlds, you can go with a resort that has a family section and an adults-only section. Your travel advisor can also help you in finding a resort that fits your style, whether that’s something romantic and intimate or caters more to a party crowd.
New Year’s Eve weddings have become popular in recent years, and it makes sense. You’re providing a party for your friends on a night everyone is already planning to go out. But be aware that the festive season around Christmas and New Year’s is the absolute busiest time of year for resorts. Availability will be low, prices will be high and there is likely to be minimum numbers of nights you’re required to book. Any major holiday that provides a long weekend might make it easier for your guests, but it’s also a time when everyone else will be looking to travel. So, again, space will be limited and priced accordingly. Summertime is usually a good option, especially for guests with children, and if you’re looking for a warm-weather destination, which will less in demand as when the U.S. is cold during winter. The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are also sweet spots, but you’ll want to keep in mind that, depending on the destination, there is hurricane season to worry about.
Mexico and the Caribbean are great options because they’re close enough to get to easily but far away enough to be exotic and really feel like a vacation. As an added bonus, you and your new spouse can tack on a few days at the end of a honeymoon once all your guests have gone home and you can recover from the planning and festivities. Of course, if a significant portion of your guests would need to get passports, there are plenty of domestic options. If you’re wanting a beach, you’ll want to be sure that it’s warm enough to actually enjoy the beach. So, to be on the safe side, if you’re getting married in a month that can be cold, make sure you’re far enough south (South Florida or Southern California, although even that can be hit or miss). The last thing you want is a beach wedding where you and your guests can’t go to the beach.
Because it’s the biggest day of your life. That comes with huge expectations, lots of stress and lots of trying to please everyone. So get as much help as you can and leave the details to someone who arranges complex itineraries seamlessly on a regular basis. There will still be plenty of details for you to worry about, from the dress to the bridesmaids and groomsmen to just about everything else. It’s supposed to be fun, so give yourself something to look forward to instead of more anxiety. You get to go to a great resort, eat great food and have fun with great friends and family. What could be better?
That one’s easy, contact Stefany Di Manno Ceccato, Dream Travel Designer/Co-Founder of DMC Travel Tailor at firstname.lastname@example.org