Maybe it's just me, but I often think about a vacation at some distant resort, some secluded location no one else knows about, and it sounds so dreamy and amazing. But then I get real and remember the realities of travel logistics, which usually sound overwhelming, and leave me staying at home. Darlene here. I recently whined to my favorite travel agent, Janet McLaren, about this, and here's what she had to say:
The Romantic Travel Dream: Island-hopping in Hawaii, aka Paradise
The Logistical Nightmare: Getting up at the crack of dawn every other day to get to the airport and go through security hassles and waste endless hours waiting — waiting to get on planes, waiting for luggage, waiting for rental cars, waiting in hotel lobbies to check in — you can already feel the romance trickling away just reading about it!
The Solution: Having done my fair share of island-hopping, taking tours, and even doing simple “fly-&-stay” trips (in which you only get to see one island), I can easily reaffirm my enthusiasm for choosing a cruise instead!Norwegian Cruise Line has a dedicated Hawaii cruise ship, the Pride of America, that sets sail from sunny Honolulu every Saturday for a 7-night voyage to Maui, the Big Island (east and west coasts), and Kauai. Since she sails at night, you don’t waste any time at all getting around, and you only have to unpack once. You can think of it as a “floating hotel” complete with meals, swimming pools, a spa, and all kinds of entertainment. You can add a day or two at the beginning or end of the cruise to be sure you also get a nice overview of Oahu, and there you have it — the perfect, most romantic, Hawaii vacation.
The Romantic Travel Dream: Beach vacation on an exotic Caribbean island
The Logistical Nightmare: Horrible, horrible flight schedules. Some of the dreamiest islands in the Caribbean are amazingly difficult to get to. On your first day you start out at the crack of dawn, make one or two stops (which multiply your chances of having misplaced luggage and/or delays and missed connections), possibly with long layovers or even an overnighter; then you arrive at your island very late at night and completely exhausted! Sure, you get some wonderful romance and relaxation for a few days while you’re there, but then you have to turn around and do it all over again for the trip back home, wiping out the benefits of getting away.
The Solution: Don’t write off the possibility of an excellent beach vacation in Mexico! The fabulous stretch of beaches fronting the Caribbean Sea south of Cancun is gorgeous, perfectly safe, and fast and easy to get to. You can arrive relaxed, enjoy a thoroughly romantic experience at an amazing all-inclusive resort to suit your tastes, and come back home still savoring those wonderful, romantic moments.
The Romantic Travel Dream: Touring around Europe by rail
The Logistical Nightmare: Matching up train schedules, making sure you book the right station, getting around from train stations to hotels (and strategic location of hotels!), lugging bags around, spending more time getting to destinations than enjoying them, possible issues dealing with currencies and language barriers, etc.
The Solution: A river cruise! Unpack once, sail at night so you don’t miss a thing or waste any precious romantic sightseeing time, and know exactly how much your trip is going to cost before you even leave home. A river cruise could be the ultimate romantic vacation — sail past fairy-tale castles, visit places of magical architecture that you’ve seen in movies, stroll along picturesque waterfronts and woodsy parkways, sample wonderful food and beverage offerings in outdoor cafes — the possibilities are unlimited! You’ll come home excited about all of your cultural experiences and historical connections, with wonderful memories, souvenirs, and photographs to treasure together forever.
Questions? You can reach Janet at:
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative