There are few experiences more romantic and breathtaking than gliding over a beautiful landscape in a hot air balloon. It’s just enough adventure without veering into the more heart-pumping extremes of hang-gliding or sky-diving. Any kind of thrill ride that allows you to drink Champagne during it is our kind of excursion. These are some of the best places to take part.
The annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place in October and this year will feature 550 balloons. Dawn launches and twilight balloon glows take advantage of the crisp autumn weather and unveil the whole of the Rio Grande Valley as the changing light plays off the mountains and valleys. The highlight of the nine-day festival is the mass ascension, when all participating balloons take off at the same time, filling the sky as far as the eye can see.
Safari from a whole new perspective with a balloon ride over the Serengeti, where you can the large scale interaction of the whole ecosystem of animals from a bird’s eye view. Watch as predators lie in wait for their prey, which is constantly on the lookout to protect the herd. It’s like a game of chess with the ultimate stakes. The endless plains and Maasai villages dotting them are great as well.
Thousands of temples and pagodas built hundreds of years ago sit silently among the trees in the golden city of Bagan, which served as the capital of the first empire to unite the lands that became Myanmar. The Irrawaddy River snakes its way past the city, with islands galore breaking up the flow. It’s the only way to check out all the architecture without spending years trekking from temple to temple.
Those rolling hills look even better from a thousand feet up. The walls of medieval hilltop cities seem so easy to breach by just dropping in from above, and you’ll get a taste of just how many acres of vineyards and olive groves there are discover. The beauty of the region is timeless, and flights usually comes with prosecco, cheese and olive oil tastings. Hard to say no to that.
The Turkish region is littered with “fairy chimneys,” spire-like rock formations that jut out from the earth. Some even houses and churches carved into them. There are also orchards and vineyards to glide over. Cappadocia is so lovely that more than half a million people go ballooning there each year, accounting for most of the world’s annual rides.
There is a seemingly endless number of travelogues to choose from to inspire your journeys. Let’s be honest, it’s the best topic to write on. Travel transforms people, so it’s no wonder that it makes for such good stories. Plus, from time immemorial, tales of faraway lands have captivated the human imagination. Here are a few we love to read for your next flight.
The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain
Chronicling Twain’s trip around the Mediterranean in 1867 with a group of Americans aboard the chartered ship Quaker City, the book is cobbled together from newspaper columns Twain wrote about the journey. Twain contrasts the attitude of America, where everything is new and history is being written in real time with the focus on the past he encountered in Europe and the Holy Land. He also critiques tour guides, recognizing what makes a good one and what doesn’t, something we all can learn from. He does it all with the humorous insight only he possessed.
Travels with Myself and Another, Martha Gellhorn
Perhaps most well-known as the third wife of Ernest Hemingway, Gellhorn was a talented travel writer and war correspondent in her own right and has a journalism award named after her. She and Hemingway (the titular other) fell in love while covering the Spanish Civil War, and Gellhorn covered conflict from then to the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. This memoir highlights some of the not-so-great aspects of travel — the tediousness of getting from Point A to Point B, the havoc travel can wreak on the digestive tract — along with the awe: “I saw, drugged with sleep and shivering, the great African sky which I have been seeking — a riot of stars, velvet black, felt as an arch, and the air seeming to glint with starshine,” she recounts.
A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle
Mayle and his wife moved to Provence, and this book details the first year. For every beautiful meal washed down with the perfect wine pairing, there is a cold wind or a harsh lesson in the relatively lax work ethic of handymen. All in all, it’s a lighthearted fish-out-of-water account that conveys the lesson that life is better when you take it easy, even if your projects might never get completed. There are more important things than working your fingers to the bone to meet the constant deadlines of the modern workaday world.
West With the Night, Beryl Markham
Markham grew up in colonial Kenya (then British East Africa), where she began her flying career as a bush pilot and befriended Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa. In 1936, she became the first woman to fly solo westward across the Atlantic, after several predecessors had died in the attempt. The westward transatlantic flight is harder because the wind is against you. When her fuel tank vents iced over, she crash-landed in Nova Scotia. West With the Night details these experiences in lively prose. A telltale anecdote about Markham’s rebellion against social norms, an ex-husband of hers tried to claim he wrote most of the book, despite evidence that Markham submitted a partial manuscript to a publisher before meeting him.
The Travels of Marco Polo, Rustichello da Pisa
If you have to be imprisoned, hearing some good stories to pass the time is as good as you can hope for. As cellmates go, Marco Polo might have been the best. While they were locked up together in Genoa, Polo shared tales of his travels with the author Rustichello, who wrote them down. While there is likely some embellishment, the book is a vivid account of Polo’s journeys through Asia, including service at the court of Kublai Khan. It went as viral as anything could in the days before the printing press, inspiring countless explorers.
We covered the best trips for solo travelers a couple weeks ago, so now that you’re relaxed or have a de-stressing trip to look forward to, let’s discuss the best trips to take the whole family on. Multigenerational trips have become increasingly popular in the last several years. An informal poll of Largay advisors yielded some great response on the best multigen adventures for your family.
Italy is great for everyone because there are so many different Italies. The history of major cities such as Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice is great for grandparents and students alike. Young adults will appreciate the romance and nightlife. There are perfect spots for coming together as a family in a villa. Rentals are typically weekly, and there are amazing countryside options in Tuscany and Umbria or the lake region in the north. Along the way, a great option to stop in medieval towns for a guided tour. From Puglia to Liguria, there is plenty to see. Sicily and the Aeolian Islands could make a trip until themselves.
It’s close and fairly easy to reach. There’s good service into two airports, one near the beach and one closer to the rainforest and Arenal volcano and its accompanying hot springs. There are fabulous treetop lodges full of activity — horseback riding, waterfall hikes, birdwatching — and spa treatments — coffee exfoliation, mango coconut wraps — in equal force. The Pacific coast has the great beaches of the Papagayo Peninsula, and there’s river rafting throughout, sometimes even right up to your lodge.
It’s quite possible most of your family might only go to this part of the world once. You might as well all go together. Marvel at the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, tour the Sydney Opera House behind the scenes and sea unique wildlife in Australia. Golf your way through New Zealand, and take time to cruise Milford Sound and trek Middle-Earth in between courses. After all that, somebody is definitely making a return trip.
The ship itself has shows, plenty of dining options, activities for kids, even babysitting in some cases. The places the ship takes you are breathtaking, especially wildlife destinations such as Alaska and the Galapagos. You’ll see incredible animals in their natural environments along with the gorgeous scenery. A Mediterranean cruise or select family-oriented European river cruises take you in the heart of cities rich in culture. Your travel advisor will help you find the cruise line that fits your family best.
A safari is a wonderful experience at any age, and something every traveler should experience at least once. Game drives make for a perfect all-inclusive day out, and everybody loves observing wildlife in action. Africa has so many beautiful natural wonders, from Victoria Falls to Ngorongoro Crater to the Okavango Delta. Those lucky enough to spot all of the Big Five will never forget it. Even if you don’t see them all, you’ll have invaluable memories with your family. By the time your grandkids tell their grandkids about it, the story will be embellished enough that you did see all five.
Not every island is a sand-and-sun beach destination where you go to crack open a good book, sip a tropical drink and forget about the worries of home for a few days. Some are full of wildlife and culture and things you can’t find anywhere else. Maybe they’re a little bit out there. Maybe they’re cold or the beaches aren’t anything to write home about. But they’re worth exploring. This week, we visit a few of them.
The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar lies east of Mozambique and is home to 5 percent of the world’s wildlife and vegetation. While the beaches are great, there is a diversity of terrain from rainforest to desert, and much of the flora and fauna are unique to the island. Of the more than 200 bird species, about half are found only on Madagascar, which has almost 20,000 plant species, including seven types of the baobab tree. Lemurs leap from tree to tree, while chameleons cling to the branches, making for an entirely different kind of safari experience.
A teardrop-shaped island off the southeastern tip of India, Sri Lanka has recently opened up to the outside world after a 30-year civil war ended in 2009. Marco Polo called it “the finest island in the world,” and it yields treasures far beyond the many precious gems found in its soil. Its two dozen national parks are home to elephants, leopards, sloth bears, and deer. As far as human contribution, Anuradhapura served as the capital for nearly 1,500 years and is still a sacred site for Buddhists, while Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress full of murals and gardens that was a revolutionary example of urban planning in the fifth century.
The seat of the Republic of China since defeat at the hands of the communists shortly after World War II, Taiwan has developed a unique culture that is a mix of aboriginal, Chinese and Japanese elements. With nearly 25 million inhabitants, it packs about 1,700 people into every square mile. At 1,671 feet, Taipei 101 in the capital city briefly held the title of world’s tallest building, though now it’s struggling to remain in the top 10. Street food is the hallmark of Taiwanese dining, with tofu, rice, pork, and vegetables all enjoying starring roles. Outside the city are temples in gorgeous natural settings reminiscent of a much older way of life.
There is a settlement with a couple dozen non-permanent human inhabitants at any given time on this island east of Tierra del Fuego and north of Antarctica. There’s even a church. But the main attraction is penguins. Tens of thousands of king, Gentoo and macaroni penguins share space with elephant and fur seals. South Georgia is also where Ernest Shackleton landed in a lifeboat on of one of the most harrowing rescue missions of all time after a wreck some 800 miles away, then hiked more than 20 miles to a whaling station for help. Not to worry, though, you’ll be safe in the hands of our Virtuoso partners.
About 50,000 brave souls inhabit this archipelago between Iceland and Norway, and it’s assuredly not for the beaches. An independent country in the Kingdom of Denmark (after a treaty with Norway in 1814), the Faroes play host to Europe’s largest puffin colony and dramatic waterfalls tumbling to the North Atlantic. There are several animal species that have evolved uniquely in isolation, such as the Faroe pony, strong as a horse but with a smaller stature and the Faroe sheep. The friendly population has an interesting blend of Norse and Celtic heritage and are fond of traditional saga-like songs accompanied by dance known as kvaedir, some of which are hundreds of verses long.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Hoffman of Hoffman Law Firm at the Camp Happy Days Gala. We both share a common interest in giving back to the non-profit organization. Camp Happy Days is a local charity in Charleston that helps children fight cancer by filling their life with hope and some fun. We at DMC Travel Tailor give 5% of our total profit to them and volunteer our time with them to help make this world a better place.
At the gala, DMC Travel Tailor donated a research and planning service as part of an auction item package. Dave Hoffman bid on it and this is how we met. I will be planning his next trip. When we got together we spoke about why he would like to use a travel advisor, the advantages of using one and the benefits he gets from travel. Dave Hoffman expressed that he would like to use a travel advisor to take the worry off his plate, creating a stress-free environment, saving him the valuable asset of time, while having a seamless trip created for him by a travel professional to avoid some of the mishaps he has previously encountered when planning a trip on his own.
Check out this video where Dave expresses why he thinks he would benefit from using a travel advisor:
DMC Travel Tailor is affiliated with Virtuoso, which is the leading luxury network in the world. Through this affiliation, we are able to offer clients exclusive perks and benefits they cannot find on their own. It also gives us access to global partners around the world we use to create WOW moments for our clients no matter where they want to go in the world. Some of the destinations we focus on include Africa, Australia, Italy, the British Virgin Islands and Fiji. We are also part of the Virtuoso Adventure Travel Community, specializing in adventure travel. This allows us to give you insight not only on where to go and what to do for a great adventure travel trip but also give you advice on what to wear and any equipment needed to bring.
Check out this video where we speak about that:
Some of the benefits of travel we discussed were learning other cultures, having eye-opening experiences that promote self-growth, bonding with family members and or loved ones and creating memories that last a lifetime, which is priceless. At the end of the day, you won’t necessarily remember what you have bought, but I bet you will remember the things you have experienced.
If you don’t have a travel advisor and would like to speak to one, please feel free to reach out to me, Stefany Di Manno Ceccato, Dream Travel Designer at DMC Travel Tailor. I can be reached at email@example.com and or by phone at (917) 653-9346. I would be happy to help in realizing your travel dreams!
Is Africa on your Bucket List? Micato, one of our Virtuoso preferred partners is a luxury safari company that continues to get rave reviews. Here are 7 reasons to go on a Micato safari.
1. World’s Best Safari Outfitter a record 9 times
They have been voted World’s Best Safari Outfitter 9 times by Travel + Leisure
You know the saying… “If something is not broken, don’t fix it!”
2. A highly credentialed Micato Safari Director accompanies every East Africa safari
Micato has their classic packaged safaris and they also offer custom-tailored safaris. Even on their custom safaris, they have a safari director who is with you for the whole trip. The safari directors are employees of the company. Micato feels this really makes for a personalized experience while attaining continuity. So much of the “magic” that happens in Africa is attributed to your guide.
3. Every departure is guaranteed
No trips are ever canceled. People can feel secure to book their flights once their trip is booked as it will go as scheduled.
4. No tipping, ever, from beginning to end
You don’t have to worry about bringing a certain amount of cash and finding the person you wish to tip at the end of the trip. This policy alleviates that stress altogether.
5. Micato’s 24-hour concierge team
They have a concierge team that is available 24/7 to help with any unexpected or unusual requests, making guests feel completely at ease while they are away, letting them focus on each precious moment of the trip.
6. Pinto family invites you to their home
Felix and Jane Pinto, second-generation Kenyans founded Micato in 1966. It started out as a small safari company. Since then it has grown into a big company, but they are committed to making their employees and guests feel like family. They live in a suburb of Nairobi and when you are there you will get an invite for lunch or dinner at their home. This makes for an authentic experience, not only meeting with a local, but also with successful business owners.
7. Micato pays for a child’s education for every Micato safari sold
They have a one for one commitment, for every safari sold; they send one child to school in Nairobi. Micato won a World Saver Award from Conde Nast for their education initiative in Kenya. Guests can visit the school in Nairobi and meet the children who have been privy to this Micato advantage. This is a special experience to be had for people to see some of the difference they are making to help bring more good into this world.
We at DMC Travel Tailor have a theme of Travel with Intention. We believe as Tony Robbins said, “The secret to living is giving.” This is why we contribute 5% of our profit to Camp Happy Days, a local charity in Charleston to help kids fight cancer. Everyone who books travel with us can feel good knowing that they are also giving towards a great cause. We would be happy to help you choose which Micato safari is right for your travel needs. Email Stefany, Co-Founder/Dream Travel Designer at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Rest assured you will be in good hands. And if your dream is to go on a safari, why not also provide a child’s education and contribute to help kids fight cancer while at it?
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” –Ben Carson
“For it is in giving that we receive.” –Francis of Assisi
About DMC Travel Tailor:
We believe in living life to the fullest. Travel is the gateway to self-transformation that touches your soul, connects and unites you with different cultures, fills your life with passion, realizes your fairytale dreams and gives you a story to tell.
What We Do
We are Stefany and Daniele, your Dream Travel Designers!
We believe in a personalized, custom-tailored travel experience that we create together. Our goal is to expand your world, rejuvenate you, and make you feel alive. We want to ignite your spirit with the memories of your adventures.
We contribute five percent of our profit to a charity and volunteer our time to make this world a better place.