Bringing Everyone Along: Traveling with Family During the Holidays

Family and holidays go together like peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream, but sometimes it’s not so sweet. Long car rides and chaotic trips to the airport can take a toll on even the most experienced travelers. Take a deep breath, our travel advisors are here to help you relieve the stress. We’ve created this list of tips to help you travel with your family during the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

Planning your trip sooner is better. Most of us start planning big trips a few months in advance, but some of us put it off until the last minute. Don’t be a part of the last-minute crew! You can save yourself a lot of headaches and a lot of money by planning your trip and booking it well ahead of schedule. The travel site Hopper says that the best time to book your holiday flight is 4-8 weeks before your departure, and cheapair.com says that booking last minute can cost you $208 more than if you booked in advance.

Get the Entire Family Involved

Making your trip a team effort will not only take some of the responsibility off of yourself but also encourage the rest of your family to help ensure that the trip runs smoothly. Ask your nieces and nephews to pick out which movies they’d like to watch on the road trip, or let your siblings research a few scenic spots to see along the way. The more involvement you can create, the more your family will be emotionally invested in the trip’s success.


Whether you are traveling by car or plane, having enough entertainment for yourself and your family is crucial to a stress-free holiday trip. Load up the iPad, the books, and any other forms of entertainment you and your family enjoy. If you’re running low on ideas, Familyvacationcritic.com created a list of 12 games you can play on a road trip. Also, if you don’t already have one, consider buying a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. They all come with mobile apps that allow you to stream thousands of shows and movies from your phone or tablet!

Food, Water, and Break Stops

If you’re traveling by air or RV, you have the convenience of a restroom, snacks, and beverages at your disposal. However, if you’re flying, make sure that everyone uses the restroom before takeoff. Consider bringing some snacks of your own to avoid high-priced airline food (or having to eat 12 bags of peanuts). If you’re driving without an RV, it’s going to take a lot more planning. Research where the rest stops are along the way so you can plan when and where you are going to take a break. Some travel gas stations are also a fantastic place to stop and take care of all your essentials at once.

You’ve got this!

Your holiday vacation is one that you look forward to all year, and these tips can help you make the best of it. Start planning now. Book flights 4-8 weeks in advance, get the entire family involved, bring the entertainment, and stay alert for all travel gas stations!

Join us at Millionmilestravel.com for more travel tips or to book your next vacation with one of our Travel Advisors.


The Top 8 Romantic Destinations for LGBTQ Couples

Are you and your partner ready for the ultimate vacation? There are so many beautiful and exciting places around the world that host incredible experiences and inclusive communities. Our travel experts put together a list of the top 8 romantic getaways for LGBTQ couples, so you and your bae can be free to enjoy your vacation. Let’s dive in!

#1 Puerto Vallarta, México

Puerto Vallarta is a beach town in the southwestern region of Mexico. It’s known as the “Gay Beach Capital” of the country. How did they get this name? There is a place called the  “Old Town” in the southern part of the city that was developed largely by gay business owners and investors in the 1980s. Since then, LGBTQ tourists have frequented the city in search of great food, entertainment, and a chance to experience their beautiful beaches. The Old Town is also known as “Zona Romantica” (the romantic zone in English), and with a name like that, what couple wouldn’t want to check it out?

#2 Curacao

Off of the northern coast of South America lies a tiny island by the name of Curacao. Even though this country is small in stature, it is BIG in Pride! They have the highest rate of businesses that associate with the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association), and much more to offer in the way of beaches, culture, and their annual Pride event.

#3 Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a small town on the northwest coast of Belgium, known for its medieval architecture, canals, chocolate, and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. There are many bars and restaurants that all openly welcome LGBTQ couples. Bruges is the perfect place for a quaint romantic vacation. It’s only a short train ride from the nightlife action in Antwerp or Brussels if that’s your thing.

#4 Malta

IGLA-Europe composes a list of all 49 European countries to rank them in terms of their respect for equality, and Malta is number 1. This Mediterranean island offers scenic hikes, bustling markets, and their own version of Carnival that happens every February. Valentine’s Day vacay anyone?

#5 Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful place for you and your boo to enjoy. The country is very progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Their natural hot springs are the biggest tourist attraction by far. These geothermal pools of water make you feel like you’re in a natural Jacuzzi. Most of the gay bars and clubs can be found in the capital city of Reykjavik, so consider this your “home base” if you are looking for the nightlife scene.

#6 Portugal

In 2019, Portugal ranked number 7 with the IGLA-Europe and named one of the world’s best LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations. The city of Lisbon has been cited as the “gay center” of the country, with Arroios and Misericórdia being among the most inclusive neighborhoods in the city. Soak in some sun on the world famous Beach 19, or climb the Torre De Belem.

#7 The Netherlands

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has a rich history in LGBTQ rights that dates back to 1811 when homosexuality was decriminalized. Since then, the city has continued to lead the way for gay rights and now hosts the largest Pride celebration in the world. It occurs from July 31st-August 8th and attracts over half a million guests! You can participate in street parties, a Pride Walk, or a unique celebration: Canal Pride.

#8 Montreal, CA

Le Village Gai, or The Gay Village in English, is the LGBTQ cultural center in Montreal and is known as one of the most popular gay centers in North America. Take a stroll down St. Catherine Street to find popular restaurants and museums, or you can also hop on the metro to visit a variety of other city centers for your amusement. A unique feature in The Gay Village is the number of terraces it offers for terrace lovers; a whopping 50 in total! Plenty of choices for you to sip tea and smell the roses!

The choice is yours!

So many destinations, so little time! Visit us at millionmilestravel.com to speak with our travel advisors about planning your perfect romantic getaway.


The Best Credit Cards to Use While Traveling

If you’re traveling with your credit card, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re going to get your swipe on. Maximizing your spending by selecting a credit card that has the best benefits for a traveler like yourself is a huge bonus, especially when you are planning the perfect getaway.

These benefits may come in the form of cashback, flight miles, reward points, or incentives with certain brands. The perk that you choose can make a big difference. If you are confused about which credit card to take on your next adventure, don’t worry, our travel advisors put together this guide for you.

The Info

To create this list, we compiled data from six sources: US News, Business Insider, WalletHub, Forbes, Credit Karma, and Nerdwallet.

bank blur business buy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Best of the Best

There are plenty of different credit cards but only two of them appeared on every single list from our sources; the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. They both mirror each other in the categories that reward you (i.e. sign-on bonus, points, etc.), but the Sapphire Reserve card typically gives you a higher reward for each category. For example, with the Sapphire Preferred card, you receive 2x points towards travel purchases and dining; with the Sapphire Reserve card, you receive 3x points.

The main difference you will find is that the annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve is significantly higher than the Sapphire Preferred card. When you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of owning either card you receive bonus points: 80,000 with the Sapphire Preferred card versus 50,000 with the Sapphire Reserve card.

Three’s Company

The next set of credit cards were mentioned by three out of the six sources: The World of Hyatt card, the Discover It Miles card, the American Express Platinum Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards card, the United Explorer card, and the American Express Gold card.

Here are a few highlights of each card:

  • The World of Hyatt – Earn 10 free nights at hotels by spending $9,000 on your card within the first 6 months. “Lifestyle” Benefits; earn points for local transit, gym memberships, and dining out.
  • Discover It Miles – No annual fee. Discover will add up every mile you accumulate during your first year and match it as a mile-for-mile bonus.
  • American Express Platinum Card – Get $200 towards fees on any eligible airline (i.e. checked bag fees, in-flight refreshments). Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines and 5x points on prepaid hotels.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards – There are four varieties of this card, but they all allow you to earn up to 50,000 points per year for referring a friend. With the Rapid Rewards Plus card, you can earn 40,000 points after spending just $1,000 within the first 3 months of your account opening.
  • United Explorer Card – No annual fee of the first year, then only $95 per year. Also, if you fly United, you get a free checked bag, priority boarding, and 25% back on in-flight purchases.
  • American Express Gold Card – Earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines. No foreign transaction fees.
happy woman shopping online at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

How do I pick the best one?

Your ultimate decision should be based on which card is best suited for your lifestyle, current credit health, and a few other criteria that you can view here. There are a ton of options out there, so make sure to do your research and compare cards before you fall in love with the first one you see.

Traveling is a time to explore, relax, and make the most of life. So, it only makes sense to make the most of your credit card while you’re traveling as well! For more travel tips, visit the top travel advisors at millionmilestravel.com.


Eat Your Way Around the World: Best Destinations for Foodies

People travel all over the world for a variety of reasons: some are looking for the adventure of a lifetime, while some are looking for a little rest and relaxation; some desire heat, while some desire the slopes; some want to discover their roots, while others want to learn a new culture.

However, a common denominator in most individuals when planning a vacation is booking a location with delicious food. After all, nearly all of us have an inner foodie somewhere within us.

Culinary vacations are becoming more popular than ever; traditionally, this is no surprise. It has always been said that the heart of a home is the kitchen. Those ideals do not vanish when we travel, as food is an essential part of any community.

Instead, often the most memorable moments of a vacation revolve around food and the people with whom you share the food.

The beauty of a culinary vacation is that you can be exposed to foods, food combinations and spices that you never knew existed. However, when you return home, a faint smell will transport you back to that experience. Below is a list of some of the best travel destinations in the world for our inner foodie.

In North America: 

Just north of the border lies Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s Quebec province. Montreal is a cultural melting pot, which is obvious in the food. Montreal’s culinary scene reflects influences from French, Caribbean and American culture, making for a fun and delicious foodie adventure. While in Montreal, try classics such as poutine, fries with cheese and gravy; pea soup; smoked meats; and of course, a dessert made with delicious maple syrup. 

If authentic tacos, burritos and guacamole would win over your heart any day of the week, a trip to Mexico City, Mexico should be high on your list. Mexico City offers a unique combination of great restaurants (that also serve great tequila), street food and fun, informative cooking courses. 

In South America: 

Outside of Napa Valley or Tuscany, Mendoza, Argentina is commonly thought of as one of the best wine-producing cities in the world. However, Mendoza also offers a delectable food scene and a world of adventure. “Bodegas,” or wineries, often offer the best of all three: world-renowned wine, delicious food and unique events. Its rich culinary tradition includes Argentinian delicacies such as Choripan, a chorizo sandwich; Empanadas, meat and vegetable pastries; and Locro, a stew made with meat and vegetables. 

Outside of Peru, the rest of the world is finally realizing the delicate art involved in Peruvian cooking. For a trip to the source, visit Cusco, Peru, also a common destination for adventure-seekers. Peruvian food is a delicious combination of Spanish and Incan influence, with popular dishes including Solterito, a salad of corn, fava beans and chili pepper; Anticuchos, beef skewers marinated in a chili sauce known as “aji”; and of course, Ceviche.

In Europe: 

Known for its “tapas,” or small plates, Spanish cuisine has often been sought after by global travelers. San Sebastián, Spain is arguably the best foodie travel destination in the world. Similar to New York City, San Sebastián has a mix to Michelin Star restaurants (in fact, the most per capita of any city) and bars that serve exquisite food worth the plane ride alone. As an added bonus, San Sebastián is a short driving distance from some of the countries most visited vineyards. 

In a continent full of popular food destinations, Copenhagen, Denmark often misses the list of possible foodie destinations. Yet, Copenhagen is home to several restaurants that people travel specifically to dine at. Both Noma, an upscale and modern restaurant, and Relae, a relaxed and organic dining experience, have gained recognition as one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World. On top of that, Copenhagen has a vast, internationally-focused food truck scene that is alone worth the travel.

In Asia: 

Bangkok, Thailand is the birth-place of a now world-renowned and loved cuisine. And while Thai food is both prevalent and delicious in the United States, the ability to eat authentic Thai dishes from a vendor in a night market is one of the most authentic food experiences in the world. Bangkok offers food tours, cooking classes and Michelin Star restaurants so that a traveler may experience the best Thai food in various settings. 

Possibly the largest street food mecca of the world is Manila, Philippines, with an abundance of options that are sure to please every diner. The “king” of Manila street food is Barut, a fertilized duck egg. Barut, while appealing to only the most adventurous foodie, is the iconic delicacy in the country. For less adventurous eaters, however, there is a host of delicious cuisine, including Ihaw-ihaw, or barbequed meat; Turon, banana fried with a lumpia wrapper; and Chicharon, crispy pork rinds. 

In Africa: 

A popular travel destination for decades, South Africa is home to delicious food and a beautiful wine country. Approximately one hour from the commonly traveled Cape Town, lies the Stellenbosch Wine Region of South Africa.

In Stellenbosch, the chefs build delicious dining experiences around the abundance of wine so that the food not only lives up to the wine, but compliments it. 

In Oceania: 

In Melbourne, Australia you can find an abundance of delicious international cuisine throughout the city, but most notably along Flinders Lane. Also home to an over two-week long Food & Wine Festival, global chefs travel to Melbourne every March to show off their talents, unique perspective on food and unforgettable dishes. 

A foodie vacation that will create memories that will last a lifetime should be on your list of vacations in the near future. If you need assistance with the decision on where to travel, or how to book, contact the top travel agency in New York – Million Miles Travel Agency.


How To Travel Solo When You Don’t Want To Travel Solo

If you have ever planned a group vacation that has fallen through you know the frustration of many travelers that want to go to one of those wonderful places that make up our great world but can never find even one person to go with.

Prior to starting my travel agency, I worked as an attorney for a company that had a very generous paid vacation policy (5 weeks specifically). The problem was that I always wanted to travel but no one was ever available. So I figured out a way to travel “solo” without actually being alone.

1) Take a tour with a supplier that works with solo travelers. I love G Adventures (I’m a total fan girl). I love them because I was able to travel solo but with the comforts of having things organized and done for me. You won’t be stuck on a bus and will have the opportunity to do some activities with a group while also being able to branch out and do your own thing its the best of both worlds. There is no single supplement so you don’t have to pay extra for traveling alone unless you want a room to yourself. If you are looking for a great tour check out our weekly travel deal.

2) Cruises are notorious for being difficult for solo travelers. To travel on most cruise lines as a single person you can sometimes have to pay up to 200% of the cabin price (basically double the amount) if you are a cruiser there are some solo friendly options: some cruise lines such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have cabins on specific ships designed specifically for solo travelers without the single penalty, other cruise lines such as Riviera River Cruises have specific sailing dates for solo travelers, and there are entire companies that deal solely in catering to a single cruiser.

3) Find a travel group that caters to solo travelers (shameless plug coming up). Million Miles Travel Agency is in the process of designing travel that will cater to solo and group travelers alike. These groups are set to travel starting next year. There will be mix and mingle receptions, roommate matching, and free time so you can do your own thing while having scheduled activities if you want to sightsee with the group. 

If you are looking to plan your first solo adventure or looking to find a travel group that fits you, schedule a consultation with me and we can find a tour or put together a custom itinerary perfect for you. 



Traveling With Friends and Family Without Going Crazy

No matter what happens, here’s how you can be the best travel companion 

​Whether you’re going for a couple of weeks or even for months together, there are some foundational things that are critical to making travel with someone else successful.

Ashlea Halpern is an editor at Traveler magazine who recently spent a year globetrotting with her boyfriend. Here are some of her best tips for making it work so you can come back from your journey having stronger relationships with your friends and family.

Get clear on what you’re good at and what you’re not good at — and play up each other’s strengths. 

You might be awesome at small details, or you might be more of a big-picture kind of person. Either one is fine, of course — but be honest with yourself about where you excel. Use your gifts to help make the trip better, and let other members of your travel group do the same.

​If you hate navigating and you’re no good at it, then don’t insist on being the one to find the hotel at 11pm in a city of ten million people. Find another way to get that done. When you see yourself and your travel companions get more done when everyone balances each other out, then differences don’t have to be catastrophic.

Go ahead and step out of your comfort zone, but be clear about your boundaries. 

Yes, traveling is all about expanding and learning, and it’s good to try all kinds of new things. But don’t be afraid to set limits. If you absolutely do not want to go skydiving, don’t do it — but if it’s someone else’s dream, offer to be there cheering them on.

​If you really want to try roasted beetles, go for it! But if your friends refuse, respect that and let them document with photos as you try a new treat.

There are plenty more adventures ahead to enjoy as a group.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Find small certainties within the chaos. So much of travel is uncertain — you’re in a new place, surrounded by things you might not recognize, trying to navigate through language and cultural barriers.

If you’re traveling long-term, you know the agony and exhaustion of flight changes, train schedules, taxi rules, late nights, early mornings. Fatigue can make you vulnerable to illness, impatience, and arguments.

Take an honest look at yourself and identify one or two things you need to do every day to keep you grounded. Is it a good breakfast? A great cup of coffee? A reasonable bedtime? An afternoon walk? Time with a good book? Then, to the best of your ability, try to honor those needs, even when everything is up in the air.

Compromise with your travel group — if they are an early risers and you’re a sleeper-inner, find a way to meet in the middle, or try to accommodate those natural tendencies. Maybe they gets up at six and reads the paper or works out while you snooze for an extra hour.

​These small concessions will pay huge dividends later on when the time comes where you have to make sacrifices due to schedules or other needs.

It’s okay to spend time apart. Especially if you’re an introvert, you might need alone time to stay sane.

Or you might just want to spend an afternoon exploring on your own, talking to new people, doing different things. It’s okay!

It’s normal to get sick of spending days or weeks at a time in close quarters with the same group of people.

​A little pre-planned, cordial time apart might be the exact thing that helps you be at your best for all the group events.

When things get tough, stand together. It’s normal to bicker about small things. Everyone does.

​But when there’s something major, remember that you are a group. Hold off on blame, engage empathy, and get to work — together as a team.

Don’t forget to be silly. Laughter has saved many a relationship (romantic, familial, or platonic).

It brings us back to what matters. It helps us take ourselves less seriously. It reminds us that it’s more important to be connected than it is to be right.

Recognize when your friend or family member is trying to lighten the mood, and don’t be afraid to let go and be goofy together.

​That time when everything was going wrong, and you stopped and realized how ridiculous it all was, and you laughed so hard that everyone has tears rolling down your cheeks — that will stay with you forever. Go with it.

If you’re ready to embark on the fun, crazy adventure of traveling with a loved one, give me a call! I’d love to help you make it the best experience yet. You can reach me by clicking here.


Let’s not go there: What to do when your vacation destination is in turmoil

We have all been there, you have planned a perfect vacation and then disaster strikes, whether it is natural, political, or social: your travel plans can change in the blink of an eye.

If you are planning a trip and these events happen, here is what you should do: 

Natural Disaster: 
Some of the most beautiful destinations in the world are increasingly vulnerable to shifting natural phenomenons due to worldwide climate change. These phenomenons can be devastating and are becoming more frequent. 

Because Mother Nature is predictable only in her unpredictability, the first defense against such an event is a strong insurance policy. The time to think about travel insurance is not when the disaster happens but long before that. Usually once the disaster happens or is imminent, you will not be able to get a travel insurance policy that will cover that event.

Political Problems: 
The first thing to remember when you are traveling is that unless you are traveling to an uninhabited destination, you will be dealing with people and if you are dealing with people you will also be dealing with politics. 

Now usually vacations are not affected by political considerations but occasionally political strife can make vacationing to a city or region, inconvenient, tense, or even dangerous. 

The first thing you should do is become clear about what is really going on. There are a number of ways to do this, we first look to the travel advisory for the region. The advisories are usually pretty clear and will really separate rumor from fact. You can find the official travel advisories by clicking here. It also helps to watch the news to see for yourself what is happening on the ground.

Where Do You Go From Here:
One of the downfalls of the internet and the 24 hour news cycle is the amount of information (usually contradictory) that is available.

One of our recommended resources can be found by clicking here. This guide will help you prepare and be aware while traveling. 

It can become really difficult what is real, what is not, and how to react based on that information. I encourage you to speak with an experienced travel advisor, like the advisors at Million Miles Travel Agency.


How to sleep well on your flight

Sleeping well on a plane has developed into a certain kind of art — and into a healthy business — with savvy travelers constantly scoping out new ways to make long flights more conducive to actual rest. Here are a few that really seem to have some payoff.

Splurge on a better seat. Sure, not everyone can afford a premium seat in first or business class, where you can take advantage of fully- or almost-fully-reclining seats and loads of leg room. But for long-distance flights, it can still be worth it to spend the extra money on an exit-row seat, a bulkhead seat, or a window seat. Flying on off-peak days, like a Tuesday evening, will also increase the likelihood that the flight will be less crowded and quieter.

Do the best you can with flight times and direct flights. While crossing many time zones always poses its own sleep challenges, do your best to pick a flight time and schedule that will sync up most naturally with your sleeping and waking times. Leaving in the evening will work better than trying to get REM at three in the afternoon.

Know your cues. Which side of the bed do you sleep on at home? Book on that side of the plane. Do you usually have a cup of tea before bed? Bring a few packets of your favorite herbal. And grab your own small travel blanket and comfy slippers while you’re at it (the airline pillow or blanket can be used for extra cushioning or lumbar support if you like). Spritz your pillow with a mild lavender essential oil. The more familiar things you can do, the more your brain will recognize the cues that it’s time for rest.

Sweet darkness, sweet silence. On most trans-oceanic flights, you’ll see the blue glow of nearly every seatback screen flickering, no matter the time. We know that the type of light emitted by screens is proven to disrupt sleep. For any rest at all — let alone good rest — keep your screen off. Bring an eye mask or cap to block out as much light as possible. Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to create the quietest environment you can.

Buckle up over the blanket. When the plane hits turbulence, flight attendants are required to make sure people are safely buckled in. If they can’t see that your seat belt is fastened, they have to disturb you to check. Make it easy for them and for you — simply click the buckle over the blanket.

Rather than paying more for less in the airport, do some quick research before you leave to find the best travel pillow for you. There are dozens to choose from, and they range widely in price, portability, and visual quirkiness. Check out reviews like this one from the Travel + Leisure magazine and note how the reviewer coordinates the best pillows with each type of sleeper. Chances are, there’s a pillow out there that will support your head and neck and give you the rest you need.

Book your flight with an airline that offers comfortable seating. Sorry to say but most American based airlines tend to have really uncomfortable or less comfortable seating. I have traveled on international based airlines and US based airlines and I have almost always found that I can get better quality (larger/wider seats, more legroom, more amenities, etc.) on international based airlines even when controlling for prices.

What are your best tips for getting good sleep on an airplane? I’d love to hear them.

And if you’re ready to plan your next (well-rested) journey, I’m here to help! You can reach me today by clicking here


One week in Cartagena, Columbia

Cartagena is located in Colombia’s Caribbean coast and is truly one of Colombia’s most beautiful cities. Colombian tradition is full of bright colors, vibrant music and delectable foods that are rich in culture. There is no surprise that tourists are being rapidly drawn to this lively port city for vacation, as it contains an enticing combination of old-world charm and new-world experiences. 

Where to stay. Traditionally, Cartagena was one of the more affordable Caribbean destinations. However, in 2019, it’s tourism industry is booming and prices have definitely increased to reflect the growth in travel into Cartagena. For budget-friendly and less-crowded travel, the best months to travel to Cartagena are November, December, March, July and August. 

Where to stay depends on the type of Colombian experience you desire: 

For history buffs, stay in or near Cartagena’s Walled City. Casa Pizarro Hotel Boutique is a modern boutique hotel with all of the desired amenities, including a pool, buffet and accommodating staff. It is located in a fun neighborhood and is walking distance from the Walled City. 

For a luxurious getaway, stay at Hotel Casa Agustín, a chic 4-star hotel on the beach. Containing only 31 guest rooms and suites, as well as a private beach, spa and onsite restaurant, this 17th century building encompasses both history and luxury. 

For a non-stop beach party atmosphere, stay in Bocagrande at Penthouses Palmetto. This high rise building is located directly on the beach, and within walking distance to numerous restaurants and quick driving distances to Cartagena’s most popular sites.

What to do. Cartagena is a large city, both in population and geography, and therefore lends itself to varying lengths of stay, depending on your focus. Whether you plan to stay for a weekend or an entire week (we highly recommend the latter), Cartagena has a host of sights and experiences for everyone. 

Wander through the Old Walled City. Downtown Cartagena is contained within 7 miles of stone walls and is highlighted by colorful, historic buildings. Take a stroll through the city, watch the sunset from the walls and stop and experience the nightlife filled with vibrant cocktails and salsa dance. 

Shop at Bazurto Market. Bazurto Market has numerous vendors of varying kinds, including local delicious and fresh produce, through narrow alleys and under makeshift roofs. 

Relax on the Playa Blanca. Known for its beautiful white sand, Playa Blanca is located on Baru island and is accessible by boat or van. During the busiest season, you will find larger crowds and beach vendors, while the more quiet season serves as a peaceful reprieve from city life. 

Be artsy in Getsemani. Getsemani is a growing neighborhood highlighted with talented street art, hipster coffee shops and a ton of history. It is located only 10 minutes outside of the walled city and is marked by the Plaza – where people gather to watch performances and have a drink. 

Learn Cartagena history at the Inquisition Museum. The former home to the Spanish Inquisition, this museum highlights the importance of Cartagena’s ports. 

Hike Tayrona National Park. Located along the coast, Tayrona is comprised of pristine beaches and adventurous hikes. 

Visit Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Cartagena Cathedral and the Clock Tower.

Where to eat. Cartagena is Colombia’s culinary capital, combining top chefs, local flavor and a vibrant atmosphere to create can’t-miss restaurants. 

La Cevicheria became famous thanks to the travels of a renowned chef and global traveler, the late Anthony Bourdain. The quality of food at this restaurant is impeccable, with fresh local seafood and regional wines highlighting the menu, and the quantity more than generous. There will be a wait as reservations are not accepted, but it is well worth it. 

Maria is a restaurant that highlights traditional Colombian ingredients in a cushion of global cuisine. It is swanky and modern and spans the world in its take on flavor and spice, with its cocktail program as innovative and delicious as its food. 

Di Silvio Trattoria is a traditional Italian restaurant with historic charm and live music. Located in the heart of Cartagena’s party town – Getsemani – this beautiful and historic restaurant serves the best pasta and pizzas in the city. 

If you are considering a trip to Cartagena and would like the assistance of a premier New York travel advisor, contact Million Miles Travel Agency today.


Snuggle up to these amazing and romantic island getaways

Whether you’re planning a proposal or you’re looking to rekindle the spark in a long-term relationship, there’s nothing quite like a beach to bring out the romantic in us.

Here are five places — for all kinds of tastes — where you can sit, sip, swim, hold hands, and just take in the majesty of big water: 

You are probably saying, Tammy, Belize is not an island. Yes, I know however Belize does happen to be the home of a host of small islands some occupied and some not occupied.

So for the ultimate in a private-island escape, I have to mention Belize.

Often overlooked in favor of more famous places, Belize is just under 7 hours from JFK with direct flights and a quick 15 minute regional flight or 45 minute water taxi to one of the smaller islands off the coast.

Belize boasts some of the most pristine shoreline in the world. Cayo Espanto, just off the coast of Belize, is a private island resort with several secluded 5-star villas, and was recently named the #1 honeymoon spot in the world. One of the bungalows, set 150 feet out in the water, features glass floors through which you can view the colorful and varied sea life.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins on the mainland, go diving in the world famous Blue Hole — or you can simply while away the hours overlooking the cerulean waves from your own private deck while the staff sees to your every need.  

So don’t count out Belize as a honeymoon destination.

For the ultimate tropical fantasy, check out Fiji.  With over 300 separate islands — many of them almost completely untouched — this place really has it all. Pamper yourself in a secluded, luxurious resort. Take a walk through one of the world’s largest Asian orchid collections. Visit the shores where Tom Hanks taught himself to fish and create fire in Castaway. Submerge yourself in the breathtaking wonderland of exotic fish, gorgeous coral, and crystal clear waters with a scuba dive for two.

​If you’re looking for an extra boost for your proposal, consider that in 2014, the Fiji tourism board reported 600 asks…and 600 yeses. That’s some good mojo!

Looking for the perfect passport free getaway? Look no further than the island of Maui. Part of the Hawaiian archipelago, Maui has attracted honeymooners and romance seekers for years with good reason. Stunning sunsets, breathtaking views, and enough activity to keep you happy Maui is an amazing destination, Take the scenic Road to Hana and play in the various waterfalls and pools dotted throughout the journey. 

With new nonstop flights on Hawaiian Airlines from JFK, getting to the Hawaiian Islands just got easier. 

Looking for Parisian romance without the Parisian price tag? Head to the Caribbean to the Guadeloupe Islands for a French Caribbean atmosphere. A French territory conveniently located in the Caribbean, you will be diving into a island comfortably fused with classic French sensibilities with Caribbean attitude in less than 5 hours during peak season from JFK. 

One of the best kept secrets in the Caribbean, you will have your choice of accommodations on six of the inhabited islands ranging from being in the center of all the attractions to becoming one with nature in a jungle hotel. 

Looking for another passport free destination, we would be remiss to not include Puerto Rico. As a commonwealth of the United States, US citizens enjoy passport free travel to Puerto Rico and it is less than 5 hours nonstop from JFK. 

Our preference would be San Juan which has the perfect blend of nightlife, beach life, and culinary masterpieces. However for more adventure or quiet the areas in Rincon, Vieques, or Humacao are also wonderful places to explore outside San Juan. 

If you love the idea of a beach getaway but need help finding just the perfect destination for your vacation-for-two, let’s set up a time to chat!

There are a million opportunities to rekindle the flame — and one of them has your name on it. You can contact me today by clicking here.

I can’t wait to speak to you!


Checking off your travel bucket list

One of my bucket list goals is to attend all four of the Tennis Grand Slam events (Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and the US Open). As I write this article, I have only attended one. Not for lack of trying, the Grand Slam events are at a set time of year and I always find myself committed to something else or just plain unable to go. 

I am sure that each one of you reading this article has a bucket list country or event that you want to attend but just thinking about the price tag for such a trip can lead you to sadness because usually the price can be prohibitive.

What if I told you that you can have your bucket list trip if you implemented one or more of the travel strategies:

1) Plan (Way) In Advance: 

Time is your friend when booking travel. Contrary to popular belief, the best deals come not with last minute deal but with early booking bonuses. Cruise schedules come out two years in advance. Hotel rooms usually become available 1-1.5 years in advance.  If planning for a large group you should think to book as soon as the schedule became available. Planning in advance allows you to have the lowest prices and allows for your pick of rooms. For example, I have booked a 7 day/6 night Southern Caribbean cruise for $600 per person when initially booked 1.5 years ago when the schedule initially came out. The same cruise cabin is currently selling for $950-$1000 per person. The price almost doubled!

2)  Embrace The Shoulder (Season):

What is the shoulder season you say? To explain what the shoulder season is we first need to define two other terms, the high season and low season. The high season is the most popular time to travel to a destination. The high season is usually when you will have the best weather or when a particular attraction is available. The downside of the high season is that prices are typically high and the crowds are usually huge. The low season is usually the least popular time to travel to a destination. The low season is usually when the weather is not the best or when popular attractions are not available. The shoulder season is the sweet spot between the high and low season. The great thing about the shoulder season is that the weather is still great but the crowds and the prices go down. My favorite time to travel to Europe is during late September/early October. The weather is not as oppressive and I was able to attend all the sights without the hordes of crowds.

3) Think Off Peak: 

As most urban and suburban residents know, rush hour is probably one of the worst time to travel. It seems like the entire city is heading to one location and you feel like a sardine trapped in a tin can. However if you are one of the lucky commuters doing a reverse commute, you probably have a stress-free commute with nothing but clear roadways (or empty train cars) to contend with. Think about your travel plans in the same way. If you are an adventurous traveler (and you purchase travel insurance) how about a Caribbean vacation during the summer or Europe during the winter. There are tips to avoid the worst of the weather but think about traveling to a destination during low season you will not only find great deals but less people.

4) Six Is An Important Number When It Comes To Flights: 

You don’t want to wait too long to book your flights but conversely you don’t want to book too early. If you are planning a vacation to a destination serviced by low cost airlines like Jetblue or Southwest it is best to wait until you are within six months of your travel time. Low cost airlines usually put out their airline schedules six months in advance so while you can purchase a vacation package earlier if you want to save a bit of money on your flights, hold off on booking the flights until the schedules for the low cost carriers are out. 

Are you ready to start planning an incredible experience for yourself or your whole family?

Contact me today and let me help you get there! Just click here.


Five things you need to know about travel insurance

With everything that is going on with I think it is important to review the basics of travel insurance. 

Even the most seasoned travelers sometimes feel confused about travel insurance — what’s out there, what it covers, whether or not they need it.

While coverage and policies vary from state to state, of course, here are some basics of travel insurance to get you started:

1. There are five main types of travel insurance. What you might need depends largely on what kind of trip you’re taking, what kind of traveler you are, and how frequently you travel. The five main types are:

trip cancellation and interruption (full or partial reimbursement for a trip you need to cancel prior to departure, a trip that gets cancelled because a tour company or resort goes out of business, or a trip that gets cut short for a wide variety of reasons)

medical (for health issues that occur outside of your normal coverage area)

evacuation (due to disaster, dangerous weather, political emergency, or medical emergency)

baggage (reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage)

flight insurance (also called “crash coverage,” this is basically a life insurance policy that covers you while you’re on the plane, in the event of a statistically-rare crash)

Travel expert Rick Steves explains the way they generally work is like this:

“The various types are generally sold in some combination — rather than buying only baggage, medical, or cancellation  

insurance, you’ll usually purchase a package that includes most or all of them. If you want just one type of coverage in particular — such as medical — ask for that (though it might come with a little cancellation or baggage insurance, too). ‘Comprehensive insurance’ covers all of the above, plus expenses incurred if your trip is delayed, if you miss your flight, or if your tour company changes your itinerary.

2. Just because you have health insurance at home does not mean that it will cover you on your trip. You need to check the ins and outs of your particular health insurance policy. It may cover you while you travel, but many do not. In fact, some insurance policies don’t even cover health emergencies experienced on foreign-flagged vessels — which is what most cruise ships are. Check with your provider, ask your travel agent for suggestions, and of course direct any insurance-related questions to the provider. As Steves puts it, “Before purchasing a policy, ask your insurer to explain exactly what’s covered before and after you get to the hospital.”

3. Avoid purchasing travel insurance from the company that’s also hosting your trip. The reason for this? If that company goes out of business, chances are, so does their insurance.

4. Some companies offer comprehensive coverage that can serve as your primary coverage while you’re traveling. What does this mean, and how can it benefit you? It means that the insurance company will pay first, regardless of what other insurance you have. They don’t even inquire about additional insurance, saving you tons of paperwork and out-of-pocket expenses. TravelGuard and Travelex are two such companies that provide these policies as an option.

5. Weigh the cost of the trip with the cost of insurance. If you just bought a $79 ticket for a quick weekend in Chicago — is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. If, however, you’re headed out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you’ve been saving for for months,

travel insurance is likely a great idea.

If you’re looking to maximize your fun and minimize your risk, travel insurance might be just the right option for you. Take your time, ask tons of questions, and find what works best for you and your family.

Have questions about insurance – or any other travel-related topic? I’d love to sit down with you in person or over the phone and get to know you and your travel plans better. To get in touch, just click here.