Dream Travel Destinations: Botswana, Africa

Is Africa one of your dream travel destinations? If so, Botswana should be on your list.

Seeing the animals from the water offers a different amazing vantage point. I did a land and boat safari in Chobe National Park when I was in Botswana and the highlight was seeing so many elephants playing in the water on the boat safari. The Okavango Delta is a great spot for a safari in a mokoro which is an adventure! Botswana can be paired with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and or South Africa.

Keep in mind, it is best to plan at least a year in advance for Africa as many of the top lodges fill up quickly as they are limited in space. When you are ready, I am excited to plan your African adventure! Email Stefany at: stefany@largaytravel.com and or info@dmctraveltailor.com.

With passion and adventure,

Stefany

The Lowcountry & Sea Islands

Though we often go abroad to capture a sense of an older way of life and unique culture, it’s good to remember how diverse this country can be and how many distinct regions the U.S. has. The Lowcountry of South Carolina and Sea Islands of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida contain a great deal of history among the people, food and architecture. The mention of Charleston or Savannah conjures up images of Spanish moss hanging from ancient oaks, the roots of the U.S. and some of the best meals you could ever hope to have. Venture farther south to Amelia Island and St. Augustine in Florida, and you reach back to even before the founding.

The capital of the region is Charleston, founded more than a century before the Declaration of Independence was written. There, you can have a wonderful dinner at the famous Hall’s Chophouse or enjoy a more modern take on Southern favorites at the award-winning Husk. Out in Charleston Harbor, you can tour Fort Sumter, where the first battle of the Civil War took place. Down the coast are the inviting beaches and verdant golf courses of Kiawah Island, home to Virtuoso-preferred resort The Sanctuary.

All throughout the region, you’ll encounter the Gullah-Geechee culture, kept alive by the descendants of slaves brought from West Africa in the 1700s. They make their homes primarily on barrier islands of the region, just as their ancestors did. Isolated from the mainland, the Gullah-Geechee have managed to preserve their cooking traditions, music and language. At the Virtuoso-preferred Lodge & Cloister at Sea Island, you’ll be in the heart of the barrier islands.

From Charleston or Sea Island, you’re in prime position to journey to Savannah, the first capital of Georgia and a storybook city that reflects its 18th-century beginnings in every square, street and cemetery. One thing that’s quite modern about Savannah is its arts scene, and you’ll find some of the best works among the collection at Virtuoso-preferred Perry Lane Hotel.

The southernmost of the Sea Islands, Amelia Island has seen eight flags fly over its pristine beaches and hiking trails. Arts lovers will not be disappointed here, either, as the island is home to annual jazz, blues, chamber music and film festivals. It’s also just over an hour to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in what is now the U.S., founded in 1565. Whatever your interests, you can rest easy laying your head at the Virtuoso-preferred Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

The Lowcountry and Sea Islands offer a journey that both preserves hundreds of years of history and carves a path to the future of cuisine and culture, right here in the U.S.

Italian Lesson #7 Menu

Ciao a tutti! This lesson is on items that are on a menu in Italy.

Happy learning! If you would like us to go over any specific words and or phrases in a video, feel free to email them to Stefany at: stefany@largaytravel.com and or at: info@dmctraveltailor.comOther Italian lessons can be found here:

Where We Can Travel Now

The list of countries we can visit is slowly but surely expanding. But it’s not as simple as booking a plane ticket and showing up. Good thing for you, you have a travel advisor who is constantly staying on top of the latest opening and requirements.

Most openings are in the Caribbean, and pretty much all the islands have testing and health declaration requirements. You might also be subject to additional screening on arrival. Anguilla actually requires hopeful travelers to apply for a spot. The island is COVID-free and would like to keep it that way. Should you be approved for your dates, you’ll need a negative test taken three to five days before travel. Antigua requires a negative test taken within 48 hours. Anguilla is also requiring a donation of $1,000 for individuals or $1,500 for families of up to four, with an additional $250 for each family member beyond four. Aruba’s testing window is 72 hours, though it only applies to residents of certain hotspot states. Barbados’ is also 72 hours, or you can take a test on arrival and quarantine until results are back. Bermuda requires a negative test taken within seven days, and the health declaration comes with a $75 fee. Dominica’s test window is 24-72 hours before travel, and the Dominican Republic’s is five days. To go to Jamaica, you’ll need a negative test and application approval if you live in one of a few hotspot states; otherwise, Americans have a temperature check on arrival. Turks & Caicos and St. Vincent & the Grenadines require a negative test taken within five days, while St. Lucia’s window is seven days and St. Maarten/St. Martin’s is 72 hours.

Expanding our net a bit into Latin America, Costa Rica will open Sept. 1 to residents of New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut who have a valid driver’s license from one of those states and a negative test taken within 48 hours of arrival. While the land border with Mexico remains closed for at least another month, the main tourist areas are open with no entry requirements; resorts are capped at 50% capacity. In South America, Ecuador requires a negative test taken within 10 days (rules differ for the Galapagos, where Silversea’s 100-passenger Silver Origin will begin sailing in September). Brazil requires travelers to present proof of health insurance but no test or quarantine.

If you have safari on your mind, Kenya is open to those who have a negative test taken within seven days of arrival, and Tanzania has no testing requirement but a health declaration to fill out before landing. Rwanda’s testing window is five days, and arriving travelers will quarantine for 24 hours before taking a second test. Egypt requires a negative test within 72 hours along with a visa and health insurance.

Despite European Union rules, some European countries are accepting Americans. Croatia doesn’t require a quarantine for travelers presenting a negative test taken within 48 hours of arrival, though it does require proof of accommodation. Albania has no test or quarantine requirements, nor does Serbia—unless you’re entering Serbia from neighbors Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia or Romania, in which case you’ll need a negative test taken within 48 hours. North Macedonia has a screening on arrival but no test requirement. Visitors to Ukraine will take a test on arrival and quarantine for 24 hours while awaiting the results.

In Asia, Turkey has no testing requirements. The UAE allows visitors to enter Dubai with a negative test taken within four days of arrival and travel insurance, or to Ras Al Khaimah with those same protocols plus proof of accommodation. Cambodia requires a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival, travel insurance with at least $50,000 of coverage and a $3,000 deposit in case you’re hospitalized.

French Polynesia is once again welcoming visitors, provided they present a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival and travel insurance. The Maldives require proof of accommodation and a health declaration.

Technically you can travel to the Bahamas, St. Barths, Ireland, the UK and Ethiopia, but they all require 14-day quarantines so you’d better have a lot of time. No matter where you’re going, be sure to bring your mask because it’s required in public spaces almost everywhere.

Confirm specific requirements for your destination with Stefany Di Manno Ceccato, she can be reached at: info@dmctraveltailor.com and or stefany@largaytravel.com.

Travel Dreaming: Health & Safety on Your Next Trip

As advisors, we’ve always focused on helping our travelers make the most of their experiences. Delivering the most value possible and providing peace of mind is what luxury means to us. In the current climate, the new luxury is health and safety. Largay Travel president Amanda Klimak spoke as part of our Travel Dreaming series with representatives from the airline, hotel and cruise sectors to discuss how they’re working to ensure safety when we send our clients into their care. Whenever you’re ready to travel, we want to send you out as well prepared and protected as possible.

While we’ve been working hard to devise some incredible road trips by car and RV for the summer, most journeys still begin with a flight. That of course involves not just the time you spend on the plane, but the time in the airport and going through security. Delta, which is blocking off middle seats through at least Sept. 30 and banning passengers who refuse to wear masks, is sending out pre-departure emails to remind travelers what to expect.

“No. 1, it’ll tell you don’t forget your mask,” Delta sales account executive Kyle Hassell said, “and it will also tell you to pack some snacks, because other than Starbucks being open there’s not a lot of airport concessions open yet because of the lower demand on flights.”

You can do contactless check-in via the Fly Delta app or on kiosks at the airport that are wiped down after every use. When checking in, you’ll fill out a quick health questionnaire and agree to the mask policy. If you have a medical condition preventing you from wearing a mask, Delta recommends arriving an hour earlier to the airport to give you plenty of time for a phone call with the doctors at STAT-MD who can assess and clear you for boarding. The baggage area is sanitized regularly and clearly marked with social distancing place markers.

Boarding is back to front, 10 passengers at a time. On board, the air is partially recycled, but many plane types bring in air from outside, and the air you’re breathing is from your row only and sent through a HEPA filter before coming back out of your personal vent. The air is refreshed every 2-5 minutes, and flight attendants clean the bathrooms every 30 minutes.

Once you’re on the ground and at your accommodations, Marriott is leading the way in hotel safety with a core set of 10 standards devised by health experts. In addition to complying with local regulations, the “Cleanliness Champion” at each property oversees the implementation of these enhancements. Guests are required to wear masks in public spaces at all Marriott properties. “We are constantly evolving to make sure our hotels are as clean as possible and as safe as possible in preventing the transmission of the virus,” Alexis Romer, VP of sales for Marriott International Luxury Brands, said.

Contactless check-in is available through the Marriott app, and restaurant menus are either single-use or QR code-based. Tables are spread out to allow enough distance for safe and comfortable dining. Before arrival, Marriott communicates to guests which areas of the hotel are open and what the protocols are so there are no surprises.

Cruise ships over 250 passengers are on a no-sail order through September. They’re using the time to revamp safety procedures. Royal Caribbean Group (which includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity, Azamara and Silversea cruises) has partnered with a Health Sail panel of doctors co-chaired by former secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt.

Royal Caribbean will return to the seas at 60-70% capacity to ensure plenty of room in public areas, including socially distanced reserved seating at shows. Rather than doing a group lifeboat drill at the beginning of the cruise, guests can do the muster drill ahead of time through the Royal Caribbean app or on the TV in your stateroom. Pre-boarding protocols are still being designed, but guests will most likely have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and masks will be required in the congested terminal area at boarding.

As for stepping off the ship in port, “we’re going to have exclusive shore excursions,” Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean International senior VP of sales said. “We’re going to make sure that the providers we use are capable of providing a safe environment.”

The last thing we or our partners want is for our travelers to get sick or get others sick. Whenever you’re ready, we’re here to provide you with the information you need to travel safely.

With passion and adventure,

Stefany

 

Travel Dreaming in Tahiti: Q&A with Liz Coleman, Paul Gauguin Cruises

Is crystal clear blue waters, private beaches, cultural immersion and isolated islands on your list? If so, Paul Gauguin Cruises is a great fit for you.

Here I am with Liz Coleman, Director of Sales for Paul Gauguin cruises. Paul Gauguin is a luxury cruise company that sails in Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji and the South Pacific. In 2019, they joined the Ponant family, a world leader in small ship cruising. We speak about their most popular itinerary, cultural experiences to be had, what makes them special and Virtuoso amenities given when booking with me.

For any questions and or to start planning your French Polynesia dream trip, please contact Stefany at: info@dmctraveltailor.com and or stefany@largaytravel.com. To watch other travel dreaming Q&A’s with our partners, click here:

With passion and adventure,

Stefany