Essential Packing List for Travels to Australia

Australia is not only an amazingly huge place, but it is also astonishingly diverse. To the north, you have the steamy rainforests; in the middle, there is the Red Centre; the marvelous southern mountain ranges; remote West Australian beach fronts, and the world-class East Coast. However, when it comes to traveling where the weather patterns and landscape are extreme, how do you pack?

To help you along, we compiled a list of a few packing essentials needed for your travels to the land down under:

Suitable Luggage
It is important to consider possible luggage limits as well as the high cost of freighting across the country. If possible, you will want to avoid that.

Reusable Water Bottle
Tap water is safe to drink for the most part in Australia. This means there is no fear of parasites while drinking, showering, or brushing teeth and no need to bring along purification tablets on your travels.

High-Quality Sunscreen
The sun in Australia is extremely strong, which means deciding against a layer of a high-quality sunscreen is not recommended. Locals typically wear at least a 50 SPF, and never anything below a 30 SPF.

Insect Repellent
This item is one of the most important things to pack when traveling to Australia. A swarm of mosquitoes, flies, and sandflies are more than enough to ruin any holiday.

Layers of Clothing
At all times it is important to expect all weather types. Clothing should include a waterproof/wind, beanie, hat, as well as a warm jacket, flip flops, bathing suits and rash guard shirts.

UV Protected Sunglasses
As stated above, Australia sun is strong which means UV levels are high. Be sure to invest in a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Power Bank
To ensure you have a charged phone consider packing a power bank to keep it juiced and ready for use while out in the middle of the Outback.

Contact DMC Travel Tailor at (917) 653-9346 to start planning your travels to Australia.

Destination Report: Coachella Valley


Perhaps August in the desert might not be your cup of tea, although there are few things more refreshing than jumping into a (climate controlled) pool when the mercury hits 110 degrees. But Southern California’s Coachella Valley is only that hot in the summer. All year long, it’s an oasis, not just of green at the foot of mountains, but of arts and culture.

Palm Springs has been a haven for Hollywood stars since the ’30s, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, founded in 1999, comes to Indio in the spring. Outside summertime, when temperatures drop and cold weather sets in, the desert sees average highs in the 70s and 80s half the year.


In addition to being ringed by mountains with the Salton Sea to the south, the Coachella Valley is also the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park at the confluence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Aside from the boundless hiking opportunities, Joshua Tree is a perfect place to gaze at the night sky thanks to its elevation and dark sky conditions.

The area is dotted with canyons offering adventure to the rock climbers in the family, with The Living Desert in Palm Desert providing family fun with a zoo and botanical garden. El Paseo shopping center and the Palm Springs Art Museum are a respite when things do get too hot. With March comes the BNP Paribas Open, a pro tennis tournament in Indian Wells. Any time of year, a Jeep tour or hot air balloon ride taking in the whole valley show off the area’s stark beauty.


Arts, food and wine festivals come to the valley throughout the year, with the Desert Circuit Horse Show taking place January through March at the Polo Grounds. About the only thing missing is the carrot festival Bugs Bunny came looking for in a 1953 cartoon. No matter your interests or the time of year, the Coachella Valley remains an oasis in the desert. Even if all you want to do is jump in the pool on a hot day.

Where you should stay:

La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
The Original Desert Hideaway, La Quinta Resort & Club—a member of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts—has been a haven to Hollywood stars since 1926. Set on 45 acres of vibrant gardens, the resort features hacienda-style casitas, suites and villas clustered around 41 pools. Together with PGA WEST, the resort offers five unique golf courses designed by legends Nicklaus, Dye and Norman. Also available: Spa La Quinta, 23 tennis courts, seven restaurants and seasonal, live outdoor music. A multimillion-dollar restoration has furnished the resort with a modern look in line with the property’s history and serene desert surroundings.

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa offers unrivaled hospitality in the Palm Springs area. This award-winning resort boasts 530 newly renovated guest rooms, including 26 luxury Penthouse Suites and 43 extravagant villas with the area’s only personalized butler service. It is a premier golf and tennis destination, home to two PGA championship courses and world-class tennis facilities. Agua Serena, the 30,000-square-foot spa, is annually recognized as one of the nation’s best. Other highlights include seven outdoor pools, one of which is adults-only; private, poolside cabanas; and four tantalizing dining venues.

The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage offers a desert-chic ambience that embraces its beautiful natural setting. You’ll especially find this in your accommodations’ décor, which reflects the desert surroundings with locally sourced stone and wood. Admire the views from your private balcony or patio. Club Level rooms offer a private, well-stocked lounge with a dedicated concierge. The Ritz Kids program keeps children and teens occupied so you can indulge in the spa’s indoor-outdoor Spirit of the Mountains renewal treatment. Close proximity to Palm Springs brings golfers within range of more than 100 fine courses.

New UNESCO World Heritage Sites for 2019

Last week UNESCO announced its new World Heritage sites for 2019. This year, 29 cultural and natural wonders joined the list, and while they are obviously all worthy of special mention, we’re highlighting a few particularly significant sites that merit a visit.

Jaipur

The fortified Pink City serves as the capital of Rajasthan in India’s northwest. It was founded in 1727 specifically to be the center of and most opulent city in the “Land of Kings,” and Jaipur lives up to the challenge in every sense. As part of the Golden Triangle with New Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is home to the Jantar Mantar observatory, itself already on the UNESCO list for its huge sundial. Not far away is Amer Fort, a large palace complex with beautiful architecture. The city was painted pink in 1876 to welcome the future King Edward VII, and has been famous for its dazzling color since.

Vatnajökull

Iceland’s land of fire and ice is defined by the interplay between erupting volcanoes and the glaciers striding atop them. The resultant melting has created river systems that carve canyons into the terrain. The largest glacier in Europe is a great venue for hiking and boat tours on the adjacent Jökulsárlón lagoon, and the area is home to herds of wild reindeer and many bird species. The national park, established in 2008, covers 14 percent of the country’s landmass.

Frank Lloyd Wright architecture

Eight of Wright’s building designs in the U.S. comprise the World Heritage. The most famous examples of his revolutionary vision are Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pa., and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Wright’s “organic architecture” style pioneered open plans and the synergy of interiors and exteriors and harmony with natural surroundings. Wright’s pioneering use of steel and concrete set the tone for the buildings of the 20th century and inspired much of Europe’s modern architecture.

Babylon

In the 7th and 6th centuries BC, this was the grandest city of the world and capital of the mighty Neo-Bablyonian Empire. Its hanging gardens were among the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the city captured the imagination of conquerors and peasants alike. The Persians took it over, followed by Alexander the Great. What remains of the ancient metropolis on site are the ruins of walls, gates, palaces and temples that offer glimpses into the glory of one of the world’s first great cities.

Paraty & Ilha Grande

South of Rio de Janeiro, the coastal city of Paraty and the island of Ilha Grande form a powerful 1-2 punch of cultural and ecological heritage. The Portuguese built the colonial town in the 17th century, and the surroundings forests are home to jaguars, peccaries and spider monkeys. Gold left for Europe from Paraty’s port. Ilha Grande has served as a leper colony and a prison, but its real claim to fame is its biodiversity. Sloths and howler monkeys roam the forests, while parrots and fruitcrows fill the skies, and Magellanic penguins, dolphins and whales teem the surrounding waters.

New England Summer Getaways

The solstice has come, and it’s officially summer, and that means each weekend brings the chance to get out and explore New England in all its glory. Whether that means packing up the family car or chartering a helicopter with Wings Air for a really quick getaway, there’s so much to explore.

Rhode Island

Hit the beach in Newport and soak in the historic boutique Vanderbilt. Do the cliff walk, taking in majestic ocean views and just as majestic gilded age mansions. Take a tour of one or more of those mansions, such as The Breakers, The Elms or Chepstow. Go for a sail on Narragansett Bay. Once you’ve worked up an entire, enjoy some fresh seafood at one of many dockside eateries.

Massachusetts

The Berkshires beckon, and so do the many arts programs that relocate from Boston in the summer. Permanent fixtures are the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Historic properties such as the Wheatleigh and the Blantyre welcome guests to their lush grounds and sumptuously appointed rooms. If you just need a break from work week and the kids being out of school, Canyon Ranch in Lenox has an array of wellness programs to rejuvenate you.

New Hampshire

From your base at the Manor on Golden Pond, check out the beauty of Bretton Woods and hike to the top of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet. Back at the Manor, Squam Lake and the White Mountains stretch out before you, inviting you to toss your cares away. It’s too late this year for Portsmouth’s annual chowder festival, which takes place the first weekend of June, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of chowder to chow down on.

Maine

Featuring Cadillac Mountain, one of the first places in the U.S. to see sunrise each morning, Acadia National Park covers several islands and is an excellent destination for birdwatchers and rewards hikers with stunning ocean views. The area was first inhabited by the Wabanaki people and later became the site of the first French missionary colony in America. To reduce summertime traffic congestion, the National Park Service is working on a new transportation plan to keep the park a beautiful and enjoyable destination.

Vermont

Take a hike along the Appalachian Trail to the top of White Rocks Cliffs to soak in views of the mountains and the valleys below. Twin Farms in Barnard and the Pitcher Inn in Warren provide the perfect launching off points for hiking, biking, golf and just about any other outdoor adventure you can imagine. The picturesque towns will make you feel as though you’re walking through a painting, allowing you to relax and recharge in maximum comfort.

South Africa Has it All: Winelands, Coastal Views and Safaris

South Africa is the perfect blend of wild and sophisticated. A few days in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands reveal a magnificent culture, while a safari shows off the spectacular wildlife you expect on a trip to Africa.

Stefany got to see the beauty firsthand on a recent study tour with African Travel. The journey began in Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands with a night at the boutique Le Quartier Francais. The hotel has the feel of a bed and breakfast with stunning mountain views from the pool area. Among the other properties in the Leeu Collection, Leeu Estates has magnificent views of vineyards and mountains, really providing a wow factor, while the 12-room Leeu House has a charming homey ambiance.

Each property is conveniently located near the wineries at La Bourgogne Farm and Haute Cabriere. The charming La Bourgogne offers tastings at a picnic out back with pleasant views, while the larger Haute Cabriere has grand views and allows guests down into the wine cellar for some hands-on learning.

About an hour from the Winelands, Cape Grace Hotel across from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a revelation. Views from the rooms are either of the harbor or Table Mountain. Each floor has different decor while maintaining an overall nautical theme. Tastings with a whisky expert can be arranged, and the wonderful Pinotage served is South Africa’s signature red wine. Virtuoso guests can have their own lockers to store wine or liquor. The service is excellent, and it’s possible to reserve a BMW car service with advance planning. Michael, the Cape Town guide, even managed to get them to the top of Table Mountain despite inclement weather that threatened to shut down the cable cars.

A day exploring the Cape Peninsula is a must, but be sure to dress in layers so you can enjoy the seaside views in comfort. A stop at Boulders Bay gave a preview of the amazing wildlife South Africa boasts, as a colony of African penguins calls the beach home. There are now 3,000 of the penguins thanks to a conservation effort that started with a single pair of breeding birds in 1982. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa on the peninsula offers panoramic views.

From the Cape, the group headed out on safari. The first stops were Lion Sands River Lodge and Kapama Karula in the country’s northeast. They also saw the Tree House at Lion Sands, a great escape for honeymooners, and the upscale Lions Sands Ivory Lodge. Morne, the safari guide at Lion Sands River Lodge, was fabulous. His passion for the animals and sharing them with guests was on full display. He really got into the game drives, cutting his way through trees to make sure the group saw lions. He has a deep knowledge of the wildlife and their habits, helping to maximize the game-viewing experience. They even came across a leopard that got up close to Stefany’s feet! Every day was a new adventure!

Kapama Karula was breathtaking. The service, the food, and the decor all had a wow factor that made the stay so memorable. The guide here, Elmero, was just as passionate and knowledgeable as Morne. He made sure to explain the animals’ behaviors, which added a great deal to the game drives. They even pursued a leopard through the bush at night! All in all, it was a wonderful experience, and one DMC Travel Tailor is happy to specially arrange with valued clients.

Click here to watch the highlights of Stefany’s South Africa adventure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8rZTToAXi0

Is Africa on your Bucket List? If so, reach out to Stefany at info@dmctraveltailor.com to start planning your African adventure.

Travel at Ease

Traveling, going on vacation, work trips, or anything where you are experiencing a new environment is exciting. The excitement and fun can easily be ruined by the stress and confusion of planning a trip. Using a travel agency can be a better route but finding one that would take all of your personal, individualized needs into consideration can be harder than you would think. DMC Travel Tailor plans customized trips for you and takes away the hassle that comes with organizing a trip. Their main goal is to expand your world, rejuvenate you, and make you feel alive. They want to set fire to your soul with memories from your travel experiences.

Stefany Di Manno Ceccato and Daniele Ceccato are the founders of DMC Travel Tailor and the creative minds that work with you to plan your dream trip. Your initial contact with Stefany is over the phone (unless you meet in person) where she asks you questions to help her understand exactly what you are wanting from your travel experience so she knows the best way to serve you. She then takes the information given to work on an itinerary customized for you.

DMC Travel Tailor works with several different companies to ensure you get the best experience and the perks that come along with it. These companies include:

    • Largay Travel
    • Virtuoso
    • Tzell Travel Group

Working with Virtuoso, which is the leading luxury network in the world, allows DMC Travel Tailor to give their clients exclusive benefits and excursions that they cannot find on their own. They contribute five percent of their profit to a charity, Camp Happy Days, which is an organization that helps kids with cancer in hopes of making the world a better place. DMC Travel Tailor wants to turn your dreams into memories one trip at a time. Where would you like to go next?