My Stay in Iceland: The Top 5 Places to Visit Within A Day’s Drive of Reykjavik

The following post is written by Kristin from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. Kristin traveled to Iceland in September 2017. 

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Tourism in Iceland is booming; more tourists visited in the past decade than the previous 6-decades combined. Tourism in 2017 exceeded 25% growth over the previous year. Hearing about the beauty of the landscape and encouraged by a friend who had recently visited, I planned a short trip for September.

We stayed in Reykjavik, the capital city, during our stay from Sunday through Wednesday. Only a short 30-minute drive from the airport, the city is home to a majority of the population and provides easy access to amazing natural landscapes. Equipped with Google Maps and a rental car, we spent each day venturing out to central and southern Iceland seeing the best the country has to offer. Here are my favorite sites we experienced all within a day’s drive of the capital city.

Experience the best of Iceland all within a day’s drive of Reykjavik: 

5. Geysir & Gullfoss Waterfalls

Drive time from Reykjavik: 1 hour 45 minutes (part of the Golden Circle route)
The active Geysirs are just an 8-minute drive from the double-tiered Gullfoss Waterfall which are the largest volume falls in Europe.

4. Vik Beach (Reyinsfjara)


Drive time from Reykjavik: 2 hours 15 minutes or half an hour from Skogafoss waterfalls
Black sand from lava makes this beach one of the most unique in the world. The allure of the site is enhanced by the basalt cliff made of symmetrical columns formed by lava. This is not a swimmable beach (if you go, watch for the ‘sneaker waves’) but is perfect for a scenic walk.

3. The Blue Lagoon

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Drive time from Reykjavik: 45-minutes (20 minutes from the airport)

An obligatory stop if you’re in Iceland, this Instagram-worthy photo op is worth the price of admission. Most of the country is powered by geothermal energy, and this lagoon is made from water powered by the local plant. The temperature is about 100 degrees Farenheit and is said to have relieving effects on the joints, while the rich silica water leaves your skin feeling nourished for the next few days.
After about an hour and a half you’ll come to the realization that you’re basically in a hot tub with 200 strangers and be on your way.

2. Skogafoss Waterfalls

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Drive time from Reykjavik: 2 hours or a half hour drive from Vik Beach
The drive to this attraction near the southern coast is a beautiful one. Stop on the side of the road to pet the horses, spot the free roaming sheep or take a panoramic of the picturesque landscape.
Drive around a mountain and you’ll be greeted with the beautiful waterfall. A quick hike up the stairs gives you an unparalleled view of the fall’s crest, countryside and sea. Make an afternoon of it climbing for even more impressive views.

1. Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir)

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Drive time from Reykjavik: 1 hour (part of the Golden Circle route)
This place has it all. Waterfalls, a lake, mountains, marsh lands, diving, rainbows – this is a must-see for anyone traveling to Iceland. Game of Thrones fans will recognize the landscape as the entrance to the Eyrie and the tundra where Brienne defeated the Hound.

Know before you go: 
– Water in many parts of the country have a strong sulfur smell. If you stay in the capital, be prepared to notice it while you shower, in your water and more. Though they say it’s safe to drink, we opted for bottled water – the locals will tell you it’s the same thing, but judge for yourself.

IMG_5881-Layers are your best friend. The temperature ranged in the mid-40’s at night to the low-50’s during the day. We experienced three of four days of intermittent showers. The temperature felt as though it ranged from the 30’s – 60’s. Quickly convert Celcius to Farenheit: multiply by 2 and add 30.

– Things are expensive. Most goods need to be imported leading to a high cost for eating out, souvenirs, fuel for driving and more. For example, a bowl of soup cost $20 at a local restaurant. There are grocery stores where you can purchase provisions for day trips – locals recommended Bonus and Kronan (look for the big yellow signs for both).

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Iceland is a truly breathtaking country and a bucket list destination for any adventurer. It is the ideal layover stop when traveling to/from Europe and Icelandair’s incredible stopover deal allows you up to 7-nights to experience the best of Iceland without an additional ticket charge.  If you’re ready to start planning your Icelandic getaway or make it a layover on your journey to Europe, 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.

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When’s the Best Time to Go to Alaska?

Larger than Texas, Montana, and California combined, there’s so much to explore in America’s last frontier, Alaska. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast looking to hike a glacier, or you’re hoping to see Orca in their natural habitat, Alaska offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences for all.

The most popular way to experience the best of Alaska is by cruise. Enjoy the comforts of an ocean cruise like Royal Caribbean International or Norwegian Cruise Line, delight in a few extra amenities with Celebrity Cruises, or savor the journey with the cruise line that was first to Alaska – Holland America Line. Alaska cruise season is from mid-May through mid-September when the temperatures range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings, to up to the 80’s in the daytime during the peak of summer.

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Because it can be cooler at the start and end of cruise season, cruise prices are typically lower during May and September…

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which is good news since the best time to see wildlife is at the start of the season in May. Dawn and dusk offer the best viewing opportunities for the animals. Expect to see bald eagles, moose, salmon, walrus, polar bears, caribou, and more.

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Though if you are a bear enthusiast, you’ll want to go in late June or early July. Look for salmon swimming upstream and you’ll often find one of Alaska’s 85,000 wild bears looking for his next meal. These bears can gain upwards of 200 pounds from spring through fall before hibernation!

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If fall is your favorite season, you won’t be disappointed if you visit in early September. During this time, expect to see the leaves changing into vibrant colors just before the start of the winter season. Be prepared to bundle up as temperatures get cooler.

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So what other experiences can you expect to enjoy in Alaska? Below are some highlights of excursions available for tourists:

  • Bear Sanctuary, Eagle Rescue and Native Trails
  • Klondike Gold Fields and Gold Panning
  • Discover Sitka, Totem Park and Native Dance
  • Dogsled Adventure
  • Dry Suit Snorkel
  • Rainforest Ropes and Challenge Park
  • Sea Kayak Adventure
  • Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour
  • and many, many more.

If you’re ready to start planning your Alaska experience, call us at 800-755-8020, email travelrequest@boscovs.com or visit us for current deals.

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.

Adventures in Costa Rica; 4-Day Fam Trip

The following post is written by Amy from Boscov’s Travel within Boscov’s at the Colonial Park Mall in Harrisburg, PA.  Amy recently visited Costa Rica on a FAM trip. In the travel industry, FAM trips – better known as familiarization trips – help travel agents learn what’s available for their clients in destinations across the globe. Amy traveled on the FAM in August 2016. 

I was lucky enough to visit Costa Rica this past August with AMResorts, a Boscov’s Travel preferred resort vendor, on a FAM trip. “Preferred vendor” means we have strong partnerships with the resort because of their service and value to clients. We are often able to offer more perks and value added deals for clients because of this preferred status. The goal of the trip was to experience the country, culture, and resort options to share with my clients.

crOur first stay was at Dreams Las Mareas for two nights. Las Mareas is Dreams newest vibrant, beach getaway for couples, families, and singles to enjoy an escape. It is located on an expansive palm-studded beach and surrounded by lush green mountains and jungles on Playa El Jobo in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. This resort has multi-levels and I had the privilege of staying in a top floor ocean view with a Jacuzzi on the balcony. Most of the rooms are located in one main building and close to the restaurants. There are a few bungalows closer to the ocean, but there’s not a bad room within the resort.

On day three we made our way to the next resort, but first stopped to take an adventure excursion, the Mega Combo Tour. This is an optional add on through AMStar, a premier destination management company. This excursion has everything! We started our experience by flying from tree to tree on a thrilling zip line canopy tour, complete with hanging bridges and twelve zip line stations. After, we walked through Guanacaste’s flora and fauna and found ourselves staring down a 1,300 foot water slide! Rushing down through it and falling into a refreshing pool.

After lunch we journeyed to a spa, and finished the day very relaxed. You can get to the spa either by a 45-minute horseback ride or by a specialized vehicle. At the spa, I experienced the volcanic mud bath and felt revitalized and young after the adrenaline-filled morning. I would highly recommend this tour since you get to experience many different things and our guide with AMStar was wonderful.

Our next stay was at Secret Papagayo for another two nights. Secrets Papagayo is a sophisticated, adults-only property and my new favorite resort. Most of the rooms are bungalows situated on a mountain. It is a large property and they have trams to shuttle guests around the property to the beach, restaurants and beyond. This is a lovely resort for a destination wedding or honeymoon. My room was behind the spa, and despite not having an ocean view, the room was spectacular. I would highly suggest getting the ocean view or requesting a bungalow higher up on the mountain. We experienced the preferred club status at both properties, which included upgraded amenities in the rooms and access to the preferred club lounge with top shelf spirits.

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Going on a FAM trip doesn’t mean travel agents can relax the entire time. During the FAM,  we are taken around properties on “site inspections” and conducted tours to see as much the resort as possible. We see all other room categories, sample fare at all the restaurants and tour the spa. We also meet with the Sales Managers, Group Customer Service, and receive training to learn about the area and what it has to offer for our clients. We do this for our clients so we can provide the best possible recommendations for their vacation needs.

The entire trip was wonderful … the people, the rooms, the food, the atmosphere. I can’t praise this experience enough! I would definitely hope to return and I highly recommend these resorts to clients looking for an upscale Costa Rica experience at a luxury resort.

If you’re ready to learn more about adult-only resorts in Costa Rica, 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.

Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service, Part 2

As the National Park Service celebrates 100 years of preserving the natural wonders of our beautiful country, two of our employees tell their stories of recent visits to national parks. Jennifer planned for two years and traveled with her family spending 9-days exploring the Yellowstone area, while Kristin traveled to the Grand Canyon on a last minute trip with a friend. You can read Jennifer’s story here. Below is Kristin’s story…

The Grand Canyon

The following post is written by Kristin from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.  Kristin traveled to Red Rock and the Grand Canyon in September 2016. 

I had the opportunity to travel to Europe in my youth, but for the past few years I traveled locally with weekend trips in the tri-state area or trips to the Jersey shore. I joined Boscov’s Travel a year ago, and since then, working at a travel agency has opened my eyes to the immense opportunities for travel!

Adventure travel wasn’t a term with which I was familiar, but learning about it over the past year made me eager to pursue my own adventure travel. When I learned that the National Park Service was celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, I knew I was due to explore our beautiful country. In August, I asked my college friend if she wanted to go west a month later.

Boscov’s Travel offers Journey West Tours, excursions guided by a western tour guide which explore the beauty of the west and Alaska. I loved the itinerary of the Southern National Parks tour which included tours of Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and more, but because of time constraints we were unable to go on this tour. With three full days in Arizona, we decided that the Grand Canyon was our ultimate destination.

I worked with Michael from our East location to coordinate the flights and hotels. I wanted to hear his recommendations of what to do, where to go (and what to avoid). Because we were doing a last minute trip, some of the accommodations were limited but he worked with me to get me the best deals on the days we wanted.

We flew into Phoenix on Wednesday evening, rested at the Sheraton Four Points North, then ventured to Sedona early the next day. Because the Grand Canyon is about 3.5 hours from Phoenix, we wanted to break up the trip and thought a hike at Red Rock was the best idea.

Having never been to Arizona, the state’s geography was in sharp contrast to that of img_3223Pennsylvania. One minute you’re driving on a barren, sandy flat plain and the next you’re cruising down a canyon and beautiful natural rock formations are visible in every direction.

The town of Sedona is a sweet little town worth a visit. There are options for seeing the Red Rocks, the most popular being the guided Pink Jeep Tours. We decided to venture on a hike instead. After researching the top 10 Red Rock hiking trails and taking the advice from a seat mate on the plane, we settled on the West Fork trail. About 6-miles round trip, the trail is relatively easy and navigates through forest, rock formations and creeks. We finished the trail in about 3.5 hours and headed to dinner. As a pescatarian (half committed vegetarian who eats fish) I was pleased to see that everywhere we went, there were lots of options for vegetarians and vegans – tempeh, tofu and TVP were present on almost every menu.

We headed to Williams, AZ for the evening and stayed at the Ramada. Williams is one of the closest towns to the Grand Canyon, though still about an hour from the park system. The town is quite tiny, but historic Route 66 runs right through the heart of it.

On Friday, we made our way to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. We were in early enough that we avoided crowds at the entrance. If you travel on a weekend or during the summer when school’s out, expect to wait.

Upon entering the Grand Canyon Village, we were treated to a breathtaking site. This place is absolutely worth a visit and was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We took our gratuitous canyon shots and headed to the trailhead.

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We were very fortunate and had reserved a very last minute reservation at Phantom Ranch, the only lodge within the depths of the canyon. If I were to do this again, I would give myself more planning time. We lucked out with the reservations within the canyon but others may not be so lucky.  Only 1% of the canyon’s 5 million annual visitors stay below the rim overnight, so they recommend planning at least a year out. Only accessible by river, foot or mule, the ranch site was home to Indigenous people a millennia ago. More recently, Theodore Roosevelt (subsequent President who established the National Park System in 1916) stayed there on a hunting trip.

Before heading down, we spoke to a ranger about our plan to hike down South Kaibob trail and hike up Bright Angel trail the following day. Because we were getting our start around 11AM, he recommended that we head down Bright Angel. In the heat of the day, the water stops along the trail and the shaded areas were a welcomed site. We headed down the 9.9 miles to Phantom Ranch. During our 5 hour hike down, we took in some of the most beautiful views of the canyon. My best tip for hiking the canyon is preparation! We saw multiple people who were ill-prepared for the hike. Our worn-in hiking boots were much better than the sneakers, Toms and flip flops we passed on the trail. Salty snacks and drinking plenty of water are key. It is basically an inverted mountain, so doing some quality training hikes prior to a visit is in your best interest.

The Colorado River was a welcome sight and a walk across the bridge and final flat mile brought us to Phantom Ranch. Accommodations include cabins and male and female dormitories. Though small, the 5-bunk dormitories offered heated showers and a restroom. They supply towels and bedding, so within the canyon it’s considered glamping.

The steak, beef stew and vegetarian dinner options are served family styled as you get to know your fellow hikers. Complimented by salad, cornbread and chocolate cake, the meal was not fine dining but one of the best of the trip knowing that it was delivered by mule. The mess room closed after dinner and opened an hour later for games and happy hour where you can enjoy a beer named in honor of the Bright Angel Trail. If you visit, be sure to send postcards that will be delivered to friends and family by mule!

Wake up call was 4:30AM and we started up South Kaibob trail which was lit by the Harvest Moon. There were a handful of hikers who passed us on the way down and indicated that they started after midnight. Going up this trail is not for the faint of heart – it is quite steep, offers no water and has very few flat spots for rest. After 5.5 hours and with a great sense of accomplishment, we finally conquered the canyon.

With photos and memories in hand, we headed back to Phoenix and flew out the next day.

The trip was spectacular. I highly recommend it whether you have a week or only a few days like we had. I discovered my love of adventure travel and can’t wait to plan my next trip.

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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.

Adventure Tourism & Travel: What’s the Right Tour for You?

Travel isn’t always about relaxation. More and more, our clients are asking about adventure tourism options. A 2013 report showed that the demand for adventure travel services were exploding at a rate of 65% growth year over year. Adventure tourists want to see the US and the world, and experience it through exploration of the culture and natural beauty inherent of the locale.

There are many options for adventure tourism and navigating the different tours can become overwhelming. From different locations to activities, to the single young traveler or the family that want to explore, there’s an adventure to fit your preferences. Below, we give you a snapshot of options available in this emerging trend.

Adventures by Disney:


Good for: Families
Destinations: Asia, Africa, Australia, Central America, South America, North America, Europe
Pricing: From $1309 to $8809 as starting price point (not including airfare)
Format: Experienced Disney guides give you insider access to the local scene. Experience activities to take you closer to the culture of the location. From a scavenger hunt in the Louvre to horseback riding in the Rockies, activities are family friendly and enhanced by the magic of Disney.
Learn more here.

G Adventures


Good for: Young couples, 21-35 year olds, young independent travelers
Destinations: All regions of the world; from New Zealand to the Polar regions
Pricing: From $229 to $11,999 as starting price point (typically not including airfare)
Format: Experienced experts guide you around regions and countries in small groups. Choose your adventure based on physical activity from light to demanding. Sail in Havana, explore Mayan temples, camp in the desert, take the polar plunge in the Arctic, dance in Brazil, traverse the Great Wall, or take game walks in Africa.
Learn more here.

Boscov’s Travel Guided Tours of Africa and Exotic Locales


Good for: Adults
Destinations: Africa, India, Vietnam, Cambodia
Pricing: Email sblum@boscovs.com or call Sue at 610-779-8272
Format: Take a jeep ride through the African Safari or barge ride with the locals along a river in Vietnam. See beautiful wildlife and unspoiled terrain in some of the most beautiful parts of the world. With seasoned Boscov’s Travel guide Sue Blum, you’ll visit cultures that will broaden your understanding of the world.
Learn more here.

Boscov’s Travel Exclusive Journey West Tours


Good for: Young adults through mature travelers
Destinations: Alaska, Western US, Southern US
Pricing: From $2187 (not including airfare)
Format: Take in the breathtaking scenery, rich cultural history and wide-open spaces that have made tours of the west some of the most talked-about tours that we offer. Typically 9 and 10 day tours, discover the US with an experienced Journey West Tour Director. Tours include the colorful Colorado and New Mexico in autumn with a hot air balloon festival, a tour through the wilderness of Alaska experiencing the wildlife of land and sea, tours of the National Park System, and a music tour from Nashville to New Orleans. Experience America like never before.
Learn more here.

If you’re ready to take on your next 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.