A Millennial’s Guide to Travel

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The following post is written by Adam from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.  Adam is well traveled and shares his insight and tips for the tech-savvy traveler. 

As a millennial that travels frequently, I wanted to share my tips and advice for traveling in your twenties and thirties. We live in a connected world. We pay bills, get rides, and stay connected to friends and family all because of smart phones. Chances are if you looking to purchase something, you probably do the research necessary to find the best deal.

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The first step in planning a trip is research. Now I know what you are thinking “I have a smart phone, I can find the best deal out there.” But that’s not necessarily the case. Do you know all the deals that a particular travel vendor is offering? Do you know that in some cases offers can be combined? Did you know that traveling to Mexico between January and April is the best time to avoid blistering heat and bad weather? If you cannot answer these questions, and if you are conscious about spending, then it is in your best interest to contact a travel agent. Everyone can benefit from checking with a travel agent when planning their next trip.

I know what you are thinking, “Travel agents cost money.” Actually a travel agent will cost you … nothing. Here’s how it works: you book your cruise with a travel agent on Titanic Cruises for the same rate OR LESS than listed online (or with additional perks), and the cruise line pays the agency for helping you to book. You book a vacation with your local travel agent and the resort pays the agency. A study came out this year reporting that travel agents save consumers an average of $452 per trip!  Booking with a travel agent is a win-win because not only can you save time and money, but you support a local business. Yay you!

But what it really comes down to is knowledge. Millennials want options and flexibility. A travel agent has knowledge across many facets of the travel industry. From the independent traveler who seeks adventure, to the couple who wants to immerse themselves in a new culture, and the young family who is traveling with children for the first time, a travel agent can serve as a guide to find the best vacation for you. Having a travel agent who is well traveled gives you options and flexibility when planning where they want to go and what they want to do. Think of them as an app on a smartphone, free to download and specific to what you need … travel.

Once you’ve booked your trip, the next step is what you should bring. The best rule of thumb is planning with your travel agent. Look at the weather forecast for where you are going to help when it comes to what clothing to pack. It’s best to plan what you will wear day by day. Taking the time to do this will help in avoiding fees if a checked bag is overweight, allow you bring home souvenirs, and allow space for any purchases made at a Duty-Free if traveling internationally.

Apps. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Even all-inclusive resorts have their own apps. When it comes to apps, there are a few that are definitely helpful when it comes to traveling. Most all-inclusive resorts offer free Wi-Fi during a stay. But like I mentioned before, some even have their own app. Secrets Resorts has their Unlimited Connectivity app which allows guests to access Wi-Fi, international calling, hotel information, and make spa reservations during their stay.

Here is a list of some other travel apps worthy of downloading:

  • GateGuru: Try as we might, sometimes you will experience a layover. If it turns out you experience a long layover, GateGuru can be your best friend. This app provides you with a map of the terminals as well as reviews of restaurants within the airport. However, the most helpful features might be the “tips” section and the average wait time at each terminal’s security checkpoint.
  • Free Wi-Fi Finder: Ah, free Wi-Fi. There is a certain level of satisfaction that I as a milennial experience when I connect to free Wi-Fi. As a modern traveler, you can feel stranded and helpless without Internet access. The Free Wi-Fi Finder by JiWire shows where you can find free wireless connections in urban areas. You can search with a directory or simply enable the Wi-Fi scanner to locate the nearest hot spots.
  • Uber: Allows people with smartphones to submit a trip request, and then drivers using their own vehicles come and taxi you to your destination if you’re taking a trip while on vacation. The service is offered in 66 countries and 449 cities worldwide, though restrictions make airport pick up near impossible. This app is perfect if you want to get around any urban area you are unfamiliar with and feel safer than one would in a taxi.

When it comes to flying, airlines are starting to get creative with onboard entertainment offerings. American Airlines is starting to offer on-demand services on their flights. Select flights have a personal screen on the back of the chair in front of you. They offer a selection of free movies and TV shows, and new releases of movies which can be rented during the flight. It’s always best to check the restrictions with a travel agent before you get on your flight. Not all airlines offer free Wi-Fi and if they do, it must meet certain restrictions. For example Southwest offers free Wi-Fi, but it only honors A-List members with the free Wi-Fi aboard any equipped aircraft. jetBlue has a goal to become the first U.S. carrier to provide free high speed Wi-Fi across its entire fleet. So hopefully it is only a matter of time before other airline carries follow suit. Our suggestion: load up the movies and music on your phone or tablet from home before go.

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Let’s explore traveling abroad. Like we mentioned earlier with planning a trip and what you should bring, research is key because of cultural, language and technology differences country to country to name a few. Another reason to use a travel agent! For the tech-savvy millennial, you need to know that the brick for your smartphone cord here in the states could be completely different than what is used in another country. Other countries provide electricity of different voltages through differently shaped electrical sockets. So if you’ll be traveling with electrical appliances or your phone, specific tech accessories are a must.

  • Virtually all travelers need an adapter plug. Adapters are necessary for both electrical devices (e.g., hair dryer) as well as electronics (e.g., laptop) for them to work in the various 220V outlet types found internationally. Adapter types vary by country, so get a multi-adapter or ask your travel agent which type is needed for your destination.
  • A voltage converter or transformer may also be needed if you’re traveling with any single-voltage devices where the voltage is different than the voltage provided by your destination. Read your device’s label to determine this.
  • Data plans with your phone carrier are also important. Getting hit with Roaming charges while using your phone abroad can hurt your wallet. Always check with your carrier in regards to what you can do and if any plans are available that you can use while you are traveling abroad. Or consider using an app like Facebook Messenger or Facetime when Wi-Fi’s available.

So there it is, your guide to travel in your twenties and thirties. Hopefully this will help guide you in the research and planning of your next travel adventure. And remember if you need help, it doesn’t cost you anything to work with a travel agent. Besides it’s easier to make a phone call or send an email to a travel agent, tell them what you want, and have them do the research for you!

 

If you’re ready to book your next vacation, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, DM Boscov’s Travel on Facebook, or call 800-755-8020.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

Which Cruise Line is Right for You?

If you are new to cruising or looking to explore a new destination on a cruise, it can become confusing to decide what’s the best cruise line for you. Whether you’re traveling on a budget with family or looking for a one-of-a-kind luxury cruise experience, we can help!

Our travel specialists brought together their top recommended cruise lines based on service, value and overall cruise experience and made a handy quiz to help you to see which cruise line is the best fit for you!

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Click here to view infographic in full screen.

Now that you’ve chosen your cruise line, take advantage of savings and perks during Boscov’s Travel July Customer Appreciation Month! All month long, enjoy discounts, perks and bonus offers on every cruise line featured here. Learn more about our July events here.

If you’re ready to book your cruise adventure, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

 

America’s Last Great Frontier; Exploring Everything Alaska Has to Offer

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The following post is written by Boscov’s Travel Specialist Jennifer from our Camp Hill branch. Jennifer recently traveled to Alaska along with Colonial Park Travel Specialist Amy, on an educational trip to experience tours and options that our clients can enjoy while experiencing America’s Last Great Frontier. 

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We experienced a whirlwind 6 nights in Alaska that felt like twice that. It never gets really dark even when the sun sets around 11pm and is back up at 4am. Nineteen hours of daylight feels like 2 days, especially when you are trying to see all that your clients may want to see in a fraction of the time. As travel specialists we tried to take in everything that the tours and hotels had to offer. Next time we will return as vacationers.

It’s hard for me to describe but Alaska is young in many ways. Not to discount the native cultures which are a big part of the history, peoples and culture but it’s statehood is less than 60 years old. Even the Russian influences are ‘new’ compared to the ancient cultures. The buildings are new, the corporations and governments are new, the ‘Alaskans’ are new. In a world of travel we often sell the ‘old’….go see ruins in Mexico, the cathedrals in Europe, historical colonial places from our US history, but how often do we seek out the new? We seek the modern in some places but Alaska is different…

According to the locals, to be ‘Alaskan’ is to live in Alaska for a winter. If you live through the season and stay, then you are an Alaskan and these transplants account for a significant part of the (750,000) population. When you realize that Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas that number seems, well, tiny. But I have digressed into my ‘factoid-ness’.

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The natural landscape of Alaska is clearly very very old. Sculpted by glaciers and home of the highest point in North America, its vistas are breathtaking. When we arrived at 11:30 pm in Anchorage my heart was delighted to see majestic mountains in the twilight. We stayed our first night at the Lakefront Anchorage, which is close to the airport and very convenient. We also woke to see planes taking off and landing right from the lake – a primary method of transportation for the locals in the deepest regions Alaska.

We stayed a second night at the Marriott in downtown Anchorage and proceeded to explore the city. We checked out the “Saturday Market”… on Sunday. It was full of delicious locally made foods, crafts and even entertainment. I had a lemongrass halibut taco that just had me fearing the trip had peaked at that point. Yes, it was that good. We walked some more and found ourselves eating at Snow City Café for a delicious second lunch (or first lunch for my colleague).

We walked a bit of Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and came back through residential areas and Delaney Park. We met up with some of the folks we would be with on the tour and our dedicated tour guide, Jared, that we would be traveling with for the next 6 days. With Royal Caribbean Cruise Tours you will always have a dedicated tour guide for the land tour. We headed for dinner at Sacks. This was a tasty, fancy little establishment. This was just a fraction of the delicious food that Anchorage has to offer. If you happen to find yourself with some free time in Anchorage I highly recommend doing a food tour.

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We were off to Seward! A quick stop at the Chugach State Park Bird Point Trailhead for a short break and a photo opportunity and then another at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. These are great ways to break up the drive and briefly see what Royal Caribbean can offer to our clients. On to the Kenai Fjords Cruise we saw orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, otters, puffins, eagles, porpoises, cormorants, and even at a great distance a goat. We had lunch at Fox Island (delicious) and again just breathtaking views. I feel like we had a day like no other. Alaska is a raw place and sometimes the weather isn’t the sunny clear day we had, but it is a place where the unexpected can surprise and amaze you. We ended the day at the Alaska Sea Life center… I could have spent much longer here learning and observing and even interacting with the animals and caretakers.

Lots of options for food are available in Seward as well. We had a delicious dinner at Ray’s. Let me tell you how important food and beverage is to me – VERY! We watched otters out the window into the marina while we dined. The Alaskan brews are so good too. I love to eat and drink local and Alaska is just sumptuous!

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The next day we were back to Anchorage and the Native Heritage Center with a brief stop in Alyeska, an adorable place just above the quaint town of Girdwood. Alyeska is only seen on the tours that focus on the mountains and the longer tours but from this vantage point you can see some spectacular mountain views. Again, we just didn’t have enough time because we were getting the abbreviated version.

It’s hard to believe that very shortly we would be in Talkeetna. This was the town I was most excited to see… if you are old enough to remember the show “Northern Exposure” about a doctor from NYC that finds himself practicing medicine in a quirky small Alaskan town, well, this is where the idea was born. It’s been about 20 years since this show first aired so I assumed it would be large and commercial now. It’s NOT and I loved this place. It’s a gathering place for climbers before and after their treks to ascend Denali (Mt. McKinley) and while we were there, there were many an unhappy climber because ascent hadn’t been possible in the last few weeks due to weather. Locals singing karaoke, climbers drowning their lament and a dog walking around town (in and out of places of business) made this town charming.

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Talkeetna was also special because we signed up to do a glacier landing on a small plane. Are there any people out there who aren’t afraid of small aircraft? This was no exception. But we had been told, by numerous accounts, that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was not to be missed, so we signed up, butterflies and all. I know I’m not a gifted enough writer to describe this but I will use a few words to try – powerful, spiritual, humbling. When that plane set down on the glacier we were so close to something so large and grand, something that from the distance was awesome and powerful and up close was even more so. We were so small and it was so grand. It brought tears for many of us. It was spiritual.

We would eventually re-board taking off from the glacier to see a little more and have an up close view of Denali. It was amazing to see a huge avalanche (even the pilot was impressed and circled back around), and the base camp for climbers. That base camp was the first perspective I had at the size of everything. Tents on the snow at the base of mountain were like ants….I just couldn’t fathom the massiveness of this. No regrets on this excursion. I will do this again and hopefully share it with my children and husband.

Our time in Talkeetna was all too short. The next day we were to board the Wilderness Express glass domed train for Denali National Park. This was quite a luxurious experience and really enables you to see so much including a view of those living off the grid. I know there are a lot of TV shows out there to teach us about Alaska but they don’t do the ‘real’ Alaska justice, they just scrape the surface.

Denali was our smallest snapshot of what’s included on these tours. Every land tour with Royal Caribbean includes Denali and we only saw a hint in the hour that we had. This just means every last one of us who was on this trip will come back.

That evening it was back to options and my colleague Amy and I did different things. She took to the river and did Whitewater rafting in the Nenana. Quite a few did this tour and everyone loved it. It was cold and a little wet but they supplied equipment to keep you dry! I went to the Husky Homestead to hear four time Iditarod champion Jeff King talk about his life and adventures, and I got to snuggle puppies and see some gleefully mush, even without snow. Aside from enjoying each of our very different adventures, we also once again were captivated by the Alaskan people that we would meet.

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Again our time was too short and morning came too soon as we ventured off to Fairbanks. I had the least expectation of this city, which is probably why it surprised me so much. It has a quirky untouched feel but is still modern and artsy. We headed up to Gold Dredge #8 where we panned for gold (and all got some), learned about the mining industry and how it established Fairbanks, about the pipeline and some musical entertainment with a train ride because – why not! We did the Alaska Salmon Bake (they make food taste so good served in large quantities!) and Palace Theater Show (a fun way to learn the modern history of this place).

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Our last day we enjoyed the Riverboat Discovery before heading to the airport. This was on the Chena river and we had the chance to see the Chena Indian Village, Susan Butcher’s huskies (another 4 time winner), a float plane land and take off right beside the river boat, and plenty of stories too! I think when I go back I’d like to start in Fairbanks.

This trip was an educational opportunity but it lit a passion for Alaska in me. Knowledge is a key to explaining but feeling unlocks something else and I know anyone I send to Alaska won’t be able to come home without having these feelings. There is so much of the history and narration that we were given by our dedicated tour guide that made everything not only informative, but interesting and fun.

If you’re ready to book your Alaskan adventure, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

 

Exploring the Best of Europe via Cruise Ship

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The following post is written by Laurie from the Boscov’s Travel Operations Department at the company’s headquarters.  Laurie recently sailed aboard the Norwegian Epic on a European tour and shares her travel adventures that she booked through Boscov’s Travel. 

I am very excited to share my “European Family Adventure” with all of you.  My parents are avid cruisers and were eager to share a trip to Europe with both my of children and myself while they were active enough to really enjoy it.  To be honest I was a bit nervous that my kids were too young to really appreciate all this amazing experience had to offer. Alexa is 12 and Zachary had just turned 9. We left Philadelphia on a direct flight to Barcelona Thursday evening. Much to my surprise the flight went remarkably fast after a movie and a few hours of sleep we were ready to land. My nervousness subsided the moment we met our driver at the Barcelona airport to take us to the hotel. Zachary became instantly engrossed in the Spanish language and was trying to learn every Spanish word possible from him in the 20 minute drive. Despite the language barrier he did everything to make us feel welcome and was very excited to share his country with us.

Our vacation began with a 2-night pre-cruise stay in a hotel located right on Las Ramblas which is the most famous main street, located in the heart of Barcelona with more restaurants, cafes, and shops than you can imagine. We loved walking around this area soaking up the architecture and local culture by trying tapas, paella, gelato and of course you can’t forget the sangria. During our stay we did a Double Decker Bus tour of the city as well as a trip to the local aquarium. We booked a Flamenco dinner show which was really fantastic as well. I highly encourage the pre-night stay to enjoy this beautiful city and I also think it helps to adjust to the time change.

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Sunday morning arrived and it was time to board the Norwegian Cruise Line Ship, Epic.  Check in was flawless and easy to do. I really enjoyed the layout of this ship as it was a bit different than others I have cruised on. It was raining so the water slides would have to wait until the sun came out. The kids managed to occupy their time at the bowling alley and the arcade located in the O’Sheehan’s Sports Bar which would come to be one of our favorite spots. We did make reservations to do the Cirque Dreams Show which was one of the ships highlights. Although the dinner portion wasn’t rave worthy the show was really fantastic!

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Monday was a day at sea to relax before we arrived in Italy. My Dad and I had to check out the Epic’s Ice Bar, where they graciously gave you parkas and gloves so you are able to enjoy your cocktails in a balmy 11 degrees. You tend to drink faster than normal because it’s a little chilly, but to see a bar and chairs all made out of ice was really cool. We both were glad we took the time to try it out and it was worth the cover charge!

Norwegian Epic Ice Bar

Tuesday morning we arrived in Naples, Italy where we had our first shore excursion to the spectacular Sorrento and Amalfi coast by land and sea. The boat ride was picturesque and walking around the villages was so neat. Of course we got to learn a bit of Italian from our tour guide too.

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Lunch was located in a greenhouse filled with beautiful flowers and lemon trees that I couldn’t get enough of.

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Wednesday we arrived in Rome, Italy, where we had a full day excursion with sightseeing at the Colosseum and throughout Vatican City. The expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is an understatement. This tour was pretty intense, as it was hours of walking, sightseeing and learning.  Alexa studied the Colisseum in 6th grade Social Studies so this was a once in a lifetime field trip to say the least. I am not sure who was more excited, her or the tour guide, as she was asking a million questions. Once arriving at the Vatican, we learned we had missed the Pope speaking earlier that morning as he does a service every Wednesday morning for the public. Seeing the inside of the Sistine Chapel was breathtaking and my favorite part was looking around to see the different emotions of everyone there. There were people praying, singing, crying, and those that were just in pure awe of the beauty.

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Thursday brought us to our final day in Italy where we toured Florence and Pisa. This was my favorite port of the trip. The bus ride through the scenic Tuscan countryside on the way to Florence was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The green hillside vineyards with tall Cypress trees were just beautiful. Once arriving in Florence I instantly fell in love with the cobblestone streets lined with cafes and tiny shops. The walk along the Arno River (photo below) was also the highlight as the scenery was just beautiful. We had a traditional Italian lunch followed by the most delicious espresso.

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Next we were off again, for a bus ride and a tour of Pisa. Pisa – in my opinion – should be no more than a few hour stop but it was certainly something I am happy we had the opportunity to see. You arrive in what looks like a residential neighborhood and you see this immense leaning tower. Pretty surreal!

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Thursday we arrived in Cannes, France, my second favorite port. My family has a love of boats and water so to see this beautiful French city on the water with yachts and sailboats, we were in paradise. We were lucky enough to be there during the Cannes Film Festival which was very exciting. We did a city tram tour which enabled us to see so much of this area. For lunch we enjoyed the best pizza we have ever eaten, which seemed ironic being in France versus Italy.

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Our final day was in Marseilles, France, which again is a beautiful seaside port. We took another tram type tour which allowed us to get a taste and feel of this picturesque little town. Of course we couldn’t leave France without enjoying our last cone of gelato.

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I truly believe that a cruise was the best way to experience all of these unbelievable destinations. As much as we loved our time spent on the ship we truly used it as a floating hotel. I don’t believe there is any better way that you can explore 3 different countries, cultures and languages all in 10 days. The shore excursions tend to add up but they are truly worth it for the experience. We thoroughly enjoyed each one. I also don’t recommend traveling to Europe on a diet, as the culinary experience alone is amazing. Now that we have had a taste of Spain, Italy, and France we can’t wait to go back.

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If you’re ready to book your Mediterranean adventure, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

River Cruising on Avalon Waterways

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From bus trips, to guided tours, city excursions or DIY travel, there are many options for touring Europe. One of the most scenic options for European touring is the river cruise. For a few days to more than three weeks, river cruises give cruisers a unique experience along the European countryside while sailing from town to town along the most famous rivers in Europe.

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One of the most awarded river cruise lines is Avalon Waterways, part of the Globus family of brands. Founded in 2003, Avalon Waterways prides themselves on giving their guests a unique point of view. Avalon rooms feature beds that face the window and their Panoramic Suites offer the Open-Air Balcony, a first of its kind wall-to-wall 11 foot panoramic window that’s 50% wider than the industry standard. This gives cruisers a more spacious, open-feeling cabin with wider views of Europe. 80% of staterooms on Avalon suite ships feature this panoramic view. View the video below to experience the difference this makes.

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In addition to the differences in room suites, Avalon Waterways attention to detail set them apart. When clients receive their cruise documents, they receive the cruise director’s (senior management on board the ship) personal cell phone number for any issues that may arise before departure or during the journey allowing for peace of mind throughout travel.

Avalon Waterways’s fleet consists of 16 ships with the oldest being only 7 years in age. Built on a tradition of the Swiss mentality, precision and functionality is forefront when it comes to building the ships. Avalon Waterways does not refurbish ships, and builds each ship 37 feet in width to navigate through the 37.5 foot locks throughout Europe. Each ship is built to accommodate up to 166 guests.

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The fare on the ship accommodates to almost any type of dietary need imaginable (with the exception of kosher) with new vegetarian menus coming soon. There is no assigned seating at meals, and beer and 4 varieties of European wine are served with dinner, and will be served with lunch in 2017. Meals change daily as chefs shop at the local markets to get the freshest regional fare available to guests.

During the day, the ship docks at destinations along the river and local guides give inside access to the historical significance and everyday modern life within the town. Stops range from well-known tourist cities to small villages to give cruisers a one-of-a-kind experience. Bikes are available for guests to journey throughout the towns.

European tour options include a varying lengths of time along the great rivers of Europe, and Avalon Waterways offers special interest cruises catering to a variety of passions and interests. Select cruises focus on wine appreciation, beer tasting, culinary adventures, jazz, art, WWII History, and Jewish Heritage to name a few.

Going on now through June 21, 2016, receive free or reduced air from select cities when sailing on 2017 Europe River Cruises. Or save up to $3,000 per couple on select 2016 Europe River Cruises for a limited time. With the strong US dollar, there’s no better time to book your European adventure. If you’re ready to book your Avalon Waterways experience, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

 

A Review of SECRETS Playa Bonita in Panama

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The following post is written by Adam from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.  Adam recently vacationed at the new Secrets Playa Bonita in Panama, and shares insider access to the resort, excursions and his overall travel experience booked through Boscov’s Travel.

After Melissa, my wife, and I spent a week at the beautiful Secrets Silversands in the Riviera Maya, and being impressed with the Secrets brand, we decided to pick another for this year’s vacation. We decided we wanted to go somewhere other than Mexico and set about researching the opening of the Secrets resorts in Costa Rica and Panama at the end of 2015. With the assistance of a Boscov’s Travel specialist, we chose to vacation at Secrets Playa Bonita in Panama, as it beats being in Reading, PA when all it does is rain lately.

After the flight and breezing through customs we were picked up by Gamboa Tours for our private transfer to the resort. The resort is about 30 minutes from the Tocumen International Airport (PTY), and Panama City itself is a sight to behold. Our driver did a fantastic job of providing a brief history of Panama as well as information of the more famous buildings that populate the skyline. Panama seems to be in a state of transition, there was a lot of new construction going on everywhere, as well as the demolition of a lot of older buildings.

After making it through the city and crossing the Pacific approach of the Panama Canal on the Bridge of Americas, we finally arrived at Playa Bonita. As always, it’s nice to be greeted with a cold towel and glass of champagne. I don’t know how much refurbishing Secrets did to make it different from the old InterContinental property, but it felt like a Secrets. The property itself was lush and very well maintained and being surrounded by a jungle really gave the resort a sense of privacy.

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As someone that has spent every summer going to the “shore”, I am always judgmental of other beaches. The beach at Playa Bonita is ideal for swimming in the early morning during high tide, but recedes about 200 yards come low tide. Before our trip we read reviews of the resort and a reviewer recommended water shoes if you wanted to explore the beach during low tide. I would also recommend it, it was interesting to see live sand dollars, crabs, oysters, and exotic fish while exploring the beach and rocks exposed during low tide.

During our stay we decided to take the Gatun Lake Expedition excursion. The expedition begins on the edge of Gamboa, crossing the Chagres River, up to the Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal, while traveling next to ships passing through the canal. This adventure gave us the opportunity to visit several islands occupied by capuchins and howling monkeys, as well as observe numerous bird species. They said there might be sloths, but alas no sloths. It was exciting to see how the canal operates up close. Again our Gamboa Tours driver did a great job of providing information about the area of Gamboa during building of the canal, as well as taking us through the town that was once occupied by American engineers.

Our experience during this trip was great and we appreciated the recommendation from the Boscov’s Travel specialist. First off, the staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to provide us anything when we asked for it. Second, the resort itself from our room to the grounds were beautiful and pristine. And third, the atmosphere by the pools and beach were relaxing and invigorating.

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The only thing that didn’t sit well with us during our stay was the restaurant schedule. I believe because of occupancy they decided to rotate opening and closings of restaurants. I realize that the resort is in its infancy, so to speak, but I really felt that could have done a better job in handling the restaurants. Thankfully the resort had exceptional room service and was greatly appreciated on the nights we didn’t wish to have dinner at the buffet.

Overall, the resort is a beautiful with a few kinks that still need to be worked out. Once those kinks are worked out, I believe that Playa Bonita would be a desired destination for anyone wishing to cross off Panama on their dream bucket list.

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If you’re ready to book your next all-inclusive vacation, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.

Travel Agents Save Consumers Time & Money

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There are a variety of reasons to book your vacation with an agency. From having experienced travelers who can recommend resorts, to special deals accessible only to agents, to no cost consultations, there are a myriad of reasons why you should book your next trip with a travel agent.

Now, there’s even more data to suggest that you should book with an agent. The American Society of Travel Agents recently conducted a study that shows travel agents save consumers an average of $452 per trip plus four hours in travel planning. Considering nearly half of consumers book their trip online, there are billions of dollars that could be back in consumers’ pockets if they would have chosen to book with a travel agent. You can view the report here.

If you’re ready to book your next adventure and possibly save upwards of $900 per couple, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury).  View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com.