Need a break? Who doesn’t, but where should you go for a quick getaway? Well, it depends. If there is no limit to your budget, you can go practically anywhere and it would still be a quick getaway. If you are on a tight budget, you will want to limit your getaway to close to your home. Here are five of the top destinations when you just need a mini-vacation.

New York City: Come in for a quick getaway to see a Broadway musical and turn it into a weekend of fun in the Big Apple. (Tip: You can’t get Hamilton tickets on a spur-of-the-moment jaunt to the city, but you can see one of many other fantastic performances that might have seats available.) Have a great meal at Carmine’s on 44th Street, buy a ticket to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty and walk through beautiful Central Park. There’s so much to do in Manhattan that you will want to turn your quick getaway into a week-long vacation.

Hudson Valley, New York: If you’re looking for a trip to New York, but want to avoid the hustle and bustle of New York City, drive about two hours north to the Hudson Valley. Here you can see the Catskill farms, hike the Shawangunk Mountains in New Paltz, kayak in the Adirondacks or enjoy some historical tours at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Vanderbilt Mansions in Hyde Park.

Las Vegas: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but you have to get to Vegas first. Whether you choose to spend your time hitting the slot machines and trying Lady Luck or you want to sit in the audience of a Celine Dion show, there’s something for everyone. You can eat at Guy Fieri or Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants (or both). You’re bound to find an affordable hotel room, but if the strip is booked up, try staying at the exciting Fremont Street Experience. You can travel by bus to the main strip and still enjoy some fun nightlife. Make sure you zipline across Fremont Street.

Toronto, Canada: Nothing like a quick visit to Toronto’s distillery district, which has art galleries, cafes, restaurants and, of course, a brewery. Depending on what time of year you are visiting, you may be able to enjoy one of their many festivals. Toronto is also home to the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum and its here where you can take a ferry ride to the Gibraltar Point, an Island Lighthouse that is the oldest landmark in Toronto.

Nashville, Tennessee: It’s a quick getaway to the home of country music, so if Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash are your favorite singers, this is the place to go. Nashville is also home to the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland USA amusement park, and the Belmont Mansion. There’s something for all ages.

Elite Travel Group

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It’s time to pack up and head on out to your vacation, but what is the right luggage to use? All you have to do is stand in front of baggage claim at the airport to see the different luggage options that are available. Should you buy a hard top or a soft cover? Wheels or no wheels (really?)? Here are some things you should consider when trying to find the best luggage for you:


  1. Are you flying or are you a road warrior? If you taking to the air, then you need to consider the ever-changing airline rules and fees for both carry-on and checked luggage. A carry-on should not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches and this includes the handles and wheels. A few airlines permit larger carry-on bags, but if you are going to be traveling on several airlines, it’s best to stick to the 22, 14, 9 rule.
  2. Heavyweight: You will want a light-weight piece of luggage because if your bag and the contents exceeds the airline’s weight limit, you will be charged extra fees. A carry-on should be less than 10 lbs. Make sure you review your airline’s luggage rules before you fly.
  3. Soft vs. hard: Soft luggage can be pushed into tighter spaces, while hard top luggage is more protective of its contents, but isn’t quite squeezable. Few hard luggage offer outside pockets as well.
  4. Durability: Finding a great deal on luggage doesn’t matter if the piece is cheap. You want your luggage to be durable. According to Consumer Reports, among the 27,000 readers who participated in their brand ratings, 61 percent said that durability was most important factor when choosing carry-on or midsize/large luggage. When it comes to durability, look at the handles, the wheels, construction material and, of course, the zippers.
  5. Wheels on the ground: Two wheels or four? This one comes down to personal preference. Some travelers prefer the two, while others prefer not to have to drag the suitcase behind them.

Finally, pick the luggage that comes with a warranty. The last thing you want is to do is to invest in a piece of luggage that isn’t covered. After all, being a traveler means moving around a lot, bumping into other luggage and dragging it through airports. You’ll want that extra protection.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc

Long Layovers at Airports

by JuJuB


Have a few hours to spare before your next flight leaves? Looking for something to do? Perhaps you need to relax a bit. At the San Francisco Airport, a long layover means time to stretch your joints and muscles, so check out their yoga room. It’s a space that they say is devoted to relaxation, self-reflection and, of course, practicing yoga. There is no charge to use the facility. Chicago O’Hare Airport, Chicago Midway Airport, and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport all have yoga rooms as well.

Just recently, DFW Airport announced that it’s producing its own instruction video for its newest yoga studio to add to the complimentary practice mats, exercise balls and stretch bands they have for travelers. Now you don’t need to know yoga because they will loop a series of 20-minute-long video yoga classes offering instructions for beginners and advanced yoga students simultaneously.

At the Albuquerque International, travelers can spend time away from the hustle and bustle in the Sunport Meditation Room. In the Netherlands, Schiphol Airport also has a meditation center.

See a movie because films run all day and night at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and The Portland International Airport just added short films, produced by local filmmakers that are intended to introduce travelers to things going on in and around Oregon and show off local Portland hot spots. Portland’s Airport is teaming up with the PDX Theater in Portland to create a series of films intended to reach this captive audience.  Miami International Airport has a pop-up theater which shows old classics and features silent films and Changi Airport has 24-hour movies.

First and Business Class passengers of Etihad Airways can enjoy a spa treatment at Six Senses Spa Abu Dhabi Airport in Abu Dhabi Terminals 1 and 3. Guests traveling in Etihad Premium cabins can enjoy 15 and 25-minute tension-releasing massages focusing on areas of concern, body treatments and balancing facials to bring the glow back into the skin.

Treatment reservations can only be made and paid for on the day of travel at the spa reception. First Class passengers and Platinum Card holders can avail a complimentary 15-minute spa or express treatment at Style & Shave by Etihad in Abu Dhab.

Want to get your nails done? JFK features the very first Clubhouse Spa, with New York hairstylist Bumble & Bumble and a unique spa collaboration with skincare specialists. The spa is closed for morning flights.

Elite Travel Management Group, Inc



elite travel
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation that was created over 600 million years ago, and is located in the southern part of the Northern Territory in Australia’s Red Centre.
Ayers Rock, which is located at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, is an iconic landmark in Australia that some travelers just want to climb and stand on top of (it’s heavily encouraged that you do not do this due to the danger involved), while others want to witness the changes in color as the sunsets strike the rock. The Rock is owned by the Anangu aboriginal people. At the Park, you can take a free guided walk and visit the cultural center where you will learn more about this Anangu culture and see Anangu art. 

The Aboriginal landowners of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, are Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people who speak their own language. You may see the locals in your travels.

According to the Australia Parks Department, Ayers Rock is higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Chrysler Building in New York. Walking around it can take approximately 3.5 hours, but it can be done.

Even if you just want to get some great photos of Ayers Rock, you should plan on spending at least a day of your Australian trip here. There are other features to see too, which could add to your trip for a few days. Close by the Rock is the Kata Tjuta, formerly called “the Olgas”, and the second major feature of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

In 1950 Ayers Rock, today known as Uluru, was declared a national park. The park has special sunset viewing areas for both the Uluru and the Kata Tjuta.

If you love watching birds, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has been home to 178 species of bird in the park. This has included such rare species as the scarlet-chested parrot and the grey honeyeater. You can also look for many examples of historic Aboriginal rock art around Uluru and you can see it along the Mala Walk and Kuniya Walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole.

Elite Travel Group

For more amazing facts about the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Aboriginals, visit

Craft Beer Tours

by JuJuB

elite travel craft beers
Beer lovers, take notice. There are an endless amount of Craft Beer Tours that you can take for your next vacation. Here is just a sample of where you can enjoy a day of sightseeing and beer tasting.

Durham, North Carolina. Beltline Brew Tours has various tours throughout North Carolina. The one in Durham starts with Bull City Burger and Brewery, then Ponysaurus Brewing Company, and then the unique highlight; Fullsteam Brewery, known for their unusual variety of flavors, including brews made with sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and hickory-smoked malt. Better still, dogs are welcomed and encouraged to visit the brewery. The tour ends back with more sampling at Bull City.

Cooperstown, New York. When you hear about “Cooperstown”, the first thing you probably think is baseball. But the town has much more to offer than that. For example, Ommegang Brewery has tours that go through six different local breweries, where you can see demonstrations, tour specialty shops, and of course, taste some beer. Ommegang also hosts many concerts throughout the summer, and they have a special, limited-edition ‘Game of Thrones’ inspired beer line.

Hood River, Oregon. Oregon has a plethora of different breweries to check out. If you’re looking for one with a tour that’s free, allows children with a parent or guardian, and is shorter than most other tours (about 30 minutes), than Full Sail Brewery is the tour for you. From the pub, you can view Mount Hood and the Columbian River Gorge, filled with sailboarders and kiteboarders. Nothing can beat a beer with a view.

Pottsville, Pennsylvania. If you’re looking for a tour with some history behind it, than look no further than the small-town feel that D.G. Yuengling & Sons Brewery provides. It started in 1831, and is the oldest working brewery in America. On the tour, you can learn how the brewery survived the Prohibition and look at the fermentation caves originally used to keep the beer cool. It’s a great look back in time.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Do you want to make a day trip out of your tour? Then come on down to Dogfish Head’s Brewings and Eats. Founded by Sam Calagione of Brew Masters, the location hosts two different types of tours, one of them free. Once you’ve finished your tour, you can check out some of the musicians above the pub, get some food, or see the sights at Rehoboth Beach. There’s enough to do there to more than satisfy your day trip needs.


Cuba travel worth the trip?

by JuJuB

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Everybody is talking about Cuba since the civil aviation agreement allowed Americans to fly there, but it is worth the hype?

Cuba is a beautiful country with some amazing must-sees, starting with its capital, Havana. Here you can tour Ernest Hemingway’s Cuba house – Finca Vigia, which was built in 1886 by a Spanish Architect Miguel Pascual y Baguer and purchased by Hemingway in 1940 for $12,500. Stop by the world famous ¨El Floridita¨ bar where Ernest Hemingway used to drink his daiquiris. Enjoy the view from the Bacunayagua Bridge, Cuba´s highest bridge.

Cuba is also a little less expensive to travel to compared to other destinations right now. However, U.S. travelers must book through a company that has been granted a license and visa by the Cuban government.

Cienfuegos, a city located on the southern coast of Cuba, is approximately 145 miles from Havana and has a nice marina area. Of course, you can’t go to Cuba without visiting a cigar factory as well as the famous Christopher Columbus cemetery – one of the great historical cemeteries of the world. On the artsy side, check out the artwork of José Fuster at Fusterlandia, a neighborhood in the village of Jaimanitas that the artist has been transforming with his ceramic creations for years. There’s also The Grand Theatre of Havana is the oldest active theatrical institution in Latin America.

Plaza de la Catedra, originally a swamp, is one of the five main squares in Old Havana and the site of the Cathedral of Havana from which it takes its name. Old Havana, the city’s center and one of the 15 municipalities that form Havana is beautiful with its cobble stones, cathedral, shops and restaurants.

Palacio De Los Capitanes Generales is the former official residence of the governors of Havana, Cuba. Located on the eastern side of the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana it is home to the Museum of the City of Havana.

The Presidential Palace was the headquarters of the Cuban government for 40 years. Today it houses the Museum of the Revolution, which presents a rich exhibit that covers from the rise of the Cuban nation, the “Granma” Memorial which shows the ship used by Fidel Castro and more than eighty combatants to return to Cuba from the exile in Mexico.

So if you’re asking yourself if it’s worth the trip, you won’t have any ‘splainin’ to do (thanks to Desi Arnaz). Instead, you’ll just have a great trip with amazing memories.


How dirty are cruises?

by JuJuB

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Just a few weeks ago, the P&O cruise line, Oceana, made news because of dirty grout, inadequate chlorine levels and potentially hazardous kitchen conditions on the ship. Health inspectors also shut down the pool and spa after the company failed a spot check. These were just some of the unsanitary conditions that were uncovered. In February, the Oriana – another P&O cruise received one of the lowest scores of any P&O ship in six years and were found to have several cockroaches.

The Diamond Princess in Australia had 150 passengers that fell ill while the Norwegian Gem had 135 as well.

How do you know that the cruise you have anxiously waited for is hygienic and that you’ll leave there illness free?

First, you can check the Centers for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program. Cruise lines that participate are required to “report the total number of gastrointestinal illness cases–including zero–evaluated by the medical staff at least 24 hours before the ship arrives at a U.S. port, when sailing from a foreign port. A separate notification is required when the GI illness count exceeds 2% of the total number of passengers or crew onboard.”

The reason norovirus is so rampant on cruises is because there are close living quarters and shared dining areas. The virus can be brought on board by contaminated food or water or other passengers or crew who had been contaminated. In order for the contagious virus to be eradicated from the ship, the vessel needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

To date in 2016, these cruises have reported to the VSP:

Oceania Cruises, Oceania Riviera (3/20 – 4/2):           Norovirus

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Gem          3/12 – 3/22       Norovirus

Silversea Cruises, Silver Spirit            3/3 – 3/21         Unknown

Carnival Cruise Line   Carnival Sunshine       2/21 – 3/5         Norovirus

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line  Anthem of the Seas    2/21 – 3/4         Unknown

Princess Cruises          Ocean Princess            2/13 – 3/7         Unknown

Oceania Cruises          Oceania Riviera           2/12 – 2/22       Norovirus

Princess Cruises          Crown Princess           1/8 – 1/18         Norovirus

According to the CDC, over 90% of diarrheal disease outbreaks on cruise ships are caused by norovirus.

Once you are on the boat and its set sail, it’s hard to avoid any dirt and contamination, but the best way to prevent yourself from getting sick on a dirty ship is to wash your hands often with soap and warm water. You can also let the staff know if you see anything that needs attention.

The CDC also recommends washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching doorknobs, railings, and elevator buttons.


Travel Scams

Travel Scams

by JuJuB

elite travel

Traveling is exciting, but unfortunately travelers are also prey for scammers who will do what they can to cause a distraction and take your money and belongings. There are so many travel scams it’s hard to keep track of them all, but here are a few common ones and some tips on how to prevent yourself from becoming the next victim:

You’ve won a trip! Before you have even gone anywhere, you’re already being scammed by online sites that claim you won an all-expenses paid trip to Belize. The problem? They want your credit card and driver’s license information to hold your prize. Then you find out that before you can get the information there are fees you need to pay.

Tip: First, do not give out any personal information. Ask questions! Consumer Fraud Reporting says to find out exactly what the prize does and does not cover and contact these businesses to verify. If the person on the phone cannot give out information, it’s probably too good to be true.

Fake phone call: You checked in and you’re all snug in your hotel bed when the phone rings. It’s the front desk telling you that there’s a problem with your credit card. You stumble out of bed and read your number again, then return to slumber. The problem? It wasn’t the front desk calling and you’ve just given your credit card information to a scammer.

Tip: If you get a call like this, tell them you’ll bring it down to the front desk (you can also call the front desk to verify). Most likely, if it’s a scam, the caller will hang up.

Skimmed. Forget about criminals watching you at the ATM to get your pin number. It’s gotten much easier now with “skimmers” that capture your data when they get close to you. A New York Times article reported a sixfold increase in the number of machines in the United States compromised by criminals in 2015, compared with 2014.

Tip: Take a good look at the ATM machine before you put your card in. If anything seems out of place, don’t use it.

Distraction: You’re taking pictures on your trip when little kids come up to you and wave papers in your face or someone bumps into you and spills something and holds your arm while they clean it up. Scammers will do what it takes to distract you so they can take your belongings and your money.

Tip: Be alert at all times. When you’re traveling, this is the best tip to avoid any scam that might happen to you.


Google As a Travel Agent?

by JuJuB

elite travel

Recently, on CNN Money there was an article announcing that Google has launched a new feature; ‘Destinations on Google’, which is a travel search engine. You simply type ‘vacation’ or ‘destination’ after a state, country, or continent on Google on our phone, to which they respond by giving you summarized options of hotel prices and flight costs. You can then have them customize your search results according to specifications you may have, so this feature is about to take the market by storm.

Is this good news or bad news for the travel industry? In truth, I will always stand by the fact that working with travel agents and real people is the better way to book your travel. This is not just because I am a travel agent either. This is because if I was booking a trip I would want a real person on the other end of the transaction working on my behalf so that my plans go off without a hitch. But, in the interest of playing devil’s advocate, let’s take an honest look at the pros and cons of using this new Google service.

1. Efficient – Who would not like the idea of booking travel at any place, time, or location? Although, if we’re being honest here- good travel agents are available to you any time, day or night.
2. Flexible – You can keep changing up the details of your travels as many times as you would like before you book. Again, agents will work with you here too and probably be able to offer you suggestions that a bot wouldn’t have thought of. But, I digress….
3. Fast – You get an instant response about a variety of locations.
4. Cheap – You might get cheaper accommodations and transportation. MAYBE!

1. Isolation – In the event that things go wrong as they sometimes do, you are left stranded and without anyone who can advise you on what to do next.
2. Logistical Failures – If the internet connection ceases while you are trying to pay for your trip you might be left in limbo.
3. Data Safety – As with all online transactions, you risk losing some vital information or having it intercepted.
4. No Follow-Up – A robot doesn’t care if you arrived at your destination on time and/or if you had a good trip.
5. No personal connection – Goes with the no follow-up con, but wouldn’t you rather work with a small business than a big corporation that honestly doesn’t care about you?

Hopefully, you have seen why you should keep working with real people and caring agents instead of yet another online travel agent wannabe.


elite travel & Uber

In a digital age it seems everyone is looking for the fastest way to get from point A to point B. With the ability to pull up a map of anywhere in the world with nothing but your smart phone, it’s not surprising that apps and businesses have come together to create taxi like services to get you anywhere you want to go on the map. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows that one such app that has been created to offer taxi like services to anyone with a smart phone is Uber. But, should you use Uber? What are the pros and cons of it?

Personal Safety – This is seen as one of the biggest advantages of using Uber while traveling. However, because the vetting process is not as strict as a taxi company would require, pretty much anyone can become an Uber driver. Sure, the company claims that they conduct investigations which date back to as far as 7 years, but can you really be sure that you’re safe with an Uber driver? Maybe. I suppose if an Uber driver showed up that you were too afraid to ride with you could request a different driver, but depending on your situation this might not be feasible. The good news is that the app’s ETA feature sends a notification to family and friends if your trip takes longer than expected.

User friendliness – Uber has been called a very easy-to-use app. For instance, it allows you to select the level of service, compare fares for different service levels and also request an estimated fare before booking. You can also see how many Uber cars are locally available and how long it will take them to arrive.

Instant receipt processing – This feature is very convenient to people who want to keep records. Uber application emails you a receipt within minutes after reaching your destination. The receipt contains the car’s driver and plate number hence if you have left something behind, you can easily retrieve it.

Lower fares – Usually, Uber fares are lower than black cars and taxis. However, prices might hike during emergencies or peak hours. The app alerts you when fares go way above the normal range.

Other downsides of Uber

  • The service doesn’t allow you to split fare with someone who doesn’t have an Uber account.
  • Uber transportation don’t operate at all airports because they lack airport licensing. This makes it hard to rely on Uber for pick-ups upon arrival at airports.
  • In most cases, drivers don’t reside in areas in which they operate. Hence, they might be unfamiliar with roads and major attractions. They rely on GPS navigation system and unfortunately GPS systems are not perfect. This means if the driver can’t find you to pick you up you could have trouble catching your ride, and you’ll need to do your own research ahead of time to ensure you are getting to the right places while traveling.

Bottom Line: Like everything there are pros and cons to using Uber. As time goes on the company may address hiccups and problems, but whether or not Uber is safe to travel with remains to be seen. Some consider it the best choice for personal safety, but others consider it to a risky ride.

What do you think? Have you ridden with Uber? Would you do it again? Why or why not?


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