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Featuring – Unique Properties and Destinations- Part 1

What I love about my job as a master travel specialist? Presenting unique properties and destinations that my customers may not have thought of or never even knew existed. It opens their eyes to the world in so many new ways.

Check-out just a few my recommendations in Part 1 of Unique Properties & Destinations

1.  Vila Monte – A Farmhouse Chic Retreat in Portugal’s sunny Algarve region





2.  Continentale Florence, Italy – Designer Michele Bönan has turned this member of the Ferragamo family’s small range of hotels into a retro jewel.

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3.  Hotel San Jose – 40 room urban bungalow-style hotel tucked behind stucco walls and set amidst lush garden courtyards in Austin, Texas. The San Jose is located on South Congress Avenue, a few blocks from downtown and Lady Bird Johnson Lake in the heart of one of Austin’s favorite neighborhoods.

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All Aboard! Our Amazing Summer Group River Cruise Review!

Vacationista Travel Viking River Cruise Group 2015

The rivers of the world are fast becoming hotspots for travelers and is currently the fastest growing tourism segment. European river cruising has boomed in the last decade (the river cruise lines can’t build the vessels fast enough!), and cruise lines are expanding to more exotic and interesting parts of the globe every year.  For many years river cruising was frequented by retirees.  However,  based on the below highlights of a river cruise, river cruising now attracts young professionals, honeymooners, generation x & y travelers as well as baby boomers.

  • Smaller intimate vessels
  • An all-inclusive offering
  • Desire for travelers to have a more authentic travel experience
  • Opportunity to visit cities throughout Europe not located on a coastal waterway accessed by larger ocean liners but rather more inland (think Budapest, Paris, and Vienna)  where guests can immerse themselves with the local cultures

We had the pleasure to experience a river cruise this summer when we hosted a group of all ages via a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine Getaway.  One word to describe this incredible trip – AMAZING! Below are a few highlights from our trip followed by a video of the Viking River Cruise we sailed:

  • We started in Amsterdam- highly recommend an extra night or two stay prior to the cruise.  The entire group agreed that Amsterdam exceeded all our expectation.  What a great walkable city but we so enjoyed the hop-hop off canal boat cruise.  I cannot say enough about how much we loved this city and I will definitely be back to spend much longer!  Did I mention the bicycles!! I never saw so many- there were parking lots of bicycles- 10,000 bicycles in one parking lot alone! And the fresh flowers- anyone would revel over the Peonies but wow, what a florist’s dream!
  • Our itinerary featured mostly ports in Germany (along with 1 port in France, Holland, and Switzerland).  One day, after a morning tour of a castle, we sat on the top sun deck, shoes kicked off, relaxing in the lounge chairs, being served drinks and desserts, listening to the tour director narrate while we viewed 16 castles along the Rhine!
  • We sailed the Viking Mani- a new vessel built this year.  It was stunning but more so, the staff was just perfect! I can’t think of anything I would improve.
  • We met most of the travelers on the cruise because of its smaller, more intimate size.  Although we were traveling in a group, we all made new instant friends.
  • Loved that the cruise docked right in the towns – we could walk on & off to visit each charming town.
  • All daily tours were included along with impressive tour guides.

Call us at Vacationista Travel to begin planning your next River Cruise!!!

318-469-2664  or

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Winter is Around the Corner – Ski Time!

Some of my best family vacation memories are from our yearly New Year’s Eve week ski vacations! Ski all day, watch football bowl games all night!  Who remembers the Fiesta Bowl 2007, Boise State vs. OU?? I do–not only because it was a remarkable and crazy game but also because I was cheering with my family from our Canyons Resort, Park City condo!  It’s that time of the year and we get so excited planning these memories for our clients.  We put together a few ski teasers to get you just as excited!

 Want an Intermediate Ski Lesson – How to Keep Your Skis Parallel? Click here!

Ski Resort

Ski Resort Opening Dates:

Copper Mountain – November 2;   Crested Butte – November 21;   Winter Park – November 14; Wolf Creek – November 2;  Park City – November 17;  Heavenly – November 16

Ski & Snow Report App:   Great new features for 2012-2013 season

Ski & Snow Report App

Book Early! These deals won’t last!

Aspen:   Aspen from $268includes 3 nights lodging in a 3 star hotel room; 2, 2-day lift tickets valid at all Aspen and Snowmass Mountains; based on double occupancy.  Valid 11/22-12/20, book by 11/19/12

Snowmass:  includes 4 nights lodging in a 4 star hotel room; 2, 3-day lift tickets valid at all Aspen and Snowmass Mountains; based on double occupancy. Valid 11/22-12/25, book by 10/19/12

Family Skiing

 Call Us Today to Book Your Next Memory!

We Will Assist With Every Detail – Air, Lodging, Lift Tickets, Restaurant Reservations, Tubing, and So Much More!

New York City– Where to Save, Where to Splurge!

The last few weeks I have found myself at different times wishing I was visiting one of my favorite cities, New York City.  As I watched the U.S. Tennis Open, followed NYC Fashion Week, and observed a national day of remembrance on 9/11, I was reminded of this great city and how each American should include it on their bucket list! Most of us know the “must dos & sees” of NYC so we are making recommendations on where you can SAVE and where you should SPLURGE when visiting.

I Love New York

Vacationista Custom NYC Package! Includes 3 night hotel accommodations at the Hilton Times Square or Element by Westin Times Square West, one Broadway Ticket of your choice per person, and ADMISSION to your choice of – Empire State Building Observatory – Museum of the City of New York – NY Water Taxi Statue of Liberty Flex Pass AND ADMISSION to your choice of – Metropolitan Museum of Art – American Museum of Natural History – Top of the Rock Observation Deck – All taxes on included features – Shopping discounts!   Price Per Person: $488! Based on Double Occupancy, subject to change based on availability, travel dates – January-February 2013. We can add airfare, transfers, and so much more to customize your trip.


Family? Have Breakfast With A Toy Soldier at the FAO Schwarz Flagship Store:  Scheduled one hour prior to store opening at 9am, visitors can take a stroll through the magical toy emporium on a 45-minute private tour that will share memorable moments in the store’s history, provide opportunities to ”test-drive” some great toys and conclude with a continental breakfast at the BIG Piano.

FAO Schwarz NY

Want to Propose? Central Park Proposal Package:  Includes assistance with selecting the location within Central Park, day-of-coordination for the proposal, professional photographer for one hour including a CD with all images, and a floral arrangement for after you pop the question. Package prices from $799.

Central Park Proposal

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Sweet Tooth? Visit Serendipity 3, Andy Warhol’s favorite sweet shop.  As popular as this brownstone has become, it still remains immensely quaint.  Indulge in a drugstore Sundae or my favorite, a Strawberry Fields Sundae – cheesecake, strawberry ice cream, strawberry topping with whip cream, $15.

Serendipity 3

Serendipity 3 NYC

Eclectic Cocktails Atop One of Manhattan’s Rooftop Lounges? The Press Lounge, atop the Kimpton Hotel – Ink48, offers unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson.  Note- there is a dress code.

Press Lounge

Press Lounge – Ink48 Hotel NYC

Vintage Shopping? Head to Soho – south of Houston Street in lower Manhattan and visit What Goes Around Comes Around, featuring one of the largest collections of vintage denim in the United States.


Food – Eat Street Food! Look for The Halal Guys carts throughout Manhattan and you won’t be disappointed. Large portions and delicious Gyro Wraps for around $6. Of course, you can find some of the best hot dog stands in the country. This is a Save & Splurge – you save money but splurge on the waistline!

NYC Street Food

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Happy Hour: Just because one bar may offer your favorite cocktail for $15 don’t assume the bar one block away is similarly priced. Check the street signs outside the pubs and bars for specials offered daily.


  • Stay uptown or downtown:  With the efficient subway system, you can be in Midtown Manhattan (Times Square, Theatre District, etc.) within minutes and save hundreds of dollars.
  • Choose your dates carefully:  NYC hotel rates can vary dramatically based on the season.  The best rates can be found Jan-March and the second best are July-August.
  • Discounted Package: Vacationista can book discounted hotel packages, in which your hotel is offered at a discounted rate and includes for no charge – free admission into top NYC attractions and museums like the Empire State Building Observatory and the American Museum of Natural History along with shopping discounts!

Broadway Show Tickets: Guess what – there is also Broadway Week! And it last longer than a week but is only offered once a year, typically in September.  Select shows are buy one – get one free. There is also the TKTS Discount Booths.  TKTS Discount Booths offer tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway musicals and plays at up to 50% off.  There are three booths:  Times Square Booth, South Street Seaport Booth, Downtown Brooklyn Booth.

Broadway Week

We want to hear from you! Post a comment – tell us what you think of this post, OR what you would like to see featured next OR what you like about NYC.  Just let us hear from you and by doing so we will enter you into a drawing for a $100 Visa Gift Card! Post your comment by October 16, 2012 to qualify.  And don’t forget to “Like” and “Share” us on Facebook!